North Korea vows to boost weapons programme to counter 'evil' United Nations sanctions

People watch a TV news report about North Korea’s hydrogen bomb test at a railway station in Seoul South Korea in this file

The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, imposing a ban on the country's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

"It was hard to find out how powerful the nuclear test was with the amount of xenon detected, but we can say the xenon was from North Korea", Choi Jongbae, executive commissioner, told a news conference in Seoul.

"The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made the remarks on Tuesday in her report on the North's sixth nuclear test and global responses during a plenary session of the European Parliament in France".

As the tension between USA and North Korea seemed to be rising, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated that the United States is not looking for war with North Korea, and that Pyongyang has "not yet passed the point of no return".

The UN Security Council unanimously imposed an eighth set of sanctions on the North on Monday, banning it from trading in textiles and restricting its oil imports, which US President Donald Trump said was a prelude to stronger measures.

The North says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from "hostile" U.S. forces and analysts believe Pyongyang's weapons programme has made rapid progress under leader Kim Jong-Un, with previous sanctions having done little to deter it. To win Chinese and Russian support, Washington dropped demands including a bid for an oil embargo.

The petroleum limits would shave off roughly 10 percent of what North Korea now gets from China, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Frustrated that China had not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration was mulling new sanctions in July on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang, two senior US officials told Reuters.

It was "another illegal and evil "resolution on sanctions" piloted by the US", it said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The Security Council vote comes just over a month after United Nations diplomats targeted about $1 billion in North Korean exports. "In the medieval system like North Korea, Kim Jong-un's life is as valuable as hundreds of thousands of ordinary people whose lives would be threatened in a nuclear attack". Late Sunday, after a series of closed meetings, a revised draft emerged, setting a cap on oil exports to North Korea but not blocking them altogether.

Analysts said doubts remain over how tightly Beijing, Moscow and others will enforce the latest measures. "This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional $500 million or more in annual revenues", Haley said.

Meanwhile, in South Korea's latest show of force, the country's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that the air force had conducted its first live-fire exercise of its Taurus long-range, air-to-surface missile, which is designed for precision strikes on North Korean facilities.



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