Online Staff Report
NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman’s recent visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has apparently done little to mend the shaky relations between North Korea and the United States.
Thursday, March 7, just hours before the United Nations Security Council issued new sanctions against Pyongyang over its latest nuclear attack, North Korea threatened to exercise its “right to pre-emptive nuclear attack.”
North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman said the following in a statement carried by Korean Central News Agency, the official state news agency: “Now that the U.S. is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, the revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea) will exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country. The U.S. is massively deploying armed forces for aggression, including nuclear carrier task force and strategic bombers, enough to fight a nuclear war under the smokescreen of ‘annual drills.’”
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea. The U.N. Security Council is composed of 15 members, including veto-wielding permanent members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. There are also 10 nonpermanent members of the council.
The sanctions passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council March 7 are directed at North Korea’s financial transactions and illicit cargo shipments, and its alleged criminal activities such as drugs and counterfeiting.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said the “entire world stands united in our commitment to the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula and in our demand that North Korea complies with its international obligations.”
Rice added that North Korea would “achieve nothing by continued threats and provocations,” adding that such comments would “only further isolate” the country and its people.
A spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry told Reuters the military was “watching the North’s activities and stepping up readiness.” The South Korean military added that it would strike back against North Korea if Pyongyang attacks.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been high since North Korea launched a long-range rocket last December. Kim Jong Un, the young North Korean leader who took office just more than a year ago after the death of his father, followed the December rocket launch with a third nuclear test Feb. 12. The Feb. 12 nuclear test led to speculation that the U.N. would issue further sanctions against Pyongyang. The most recent sanctions announced March 7 come after the U.S. and China, North Korea’s lone diplomatic ally on the Security Council, reached a deal to punish Pyongyang.
Earlier in the week, North Korea threatened to end a 60-year truce that ended the Korean War in 1953.
Posted March 7, 2013