(CN) – Greeting the toughest sanctions North Korea has faced to date for its nuclear weapons program, the communist state reacted Thursday by firing more missiles, South Korea said.
Quoting South Korea’s defense ministry, BBC said the six short-range projectiles fired into the sea Thursday from Wonsan “were either rockets or guided missiles.”
The move came hours after 15 members of the United Nations Security Council, including the United States, voted Wednesday to sanction North Korea for testing and launching nuclear weapons, in violation of existing sanctions.
As quoted by CNN, the country’s leader Kim Jong Un told state news agency KCNA on Friday that the “nuclear warheads need to be ready for use at any time.”
“Under the extreme situation that the U.S. Imperialist is misusing its military influence and is pressuring other countries and people to start war and catastrophe, the only way for our people to protect sovereignty and rights to live is to strengthen the quality and quantity of nuclear power and realize the balance of power,” Kim said, according to CNN.
At the U.N. Security Council vote Wednesday, Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said North Korea is the only nation in the 21st century to conduct nuclear tests.
The sanctions vote occurred nearly one month after North Korea launched a nuclear missile on Feb. 7, having successfully tested a hydrogen bomb a month earlier, its fourth such test.
“With each nuclear test and launch using ballistic missile technology, the DPRK improves its capability to carry out a nuclear missile attack not only in the region but also a continent away,” Power told before the panel, according to video of her testimony. “That means having the ability to strike most of the countries sitting on this council. Think about that.”
After the vote Wednesday, the Department of State announced that it had branded the Namhung Trading Corp. as an alias of Namchongang Trading Corp., which the United Nations and United States previously designated for supporting weapons of mass destruction.
The country’s “provocative acts continue to threaten international peace and security and have only resulted in North Korea becoming further isolated from the international community,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
Applauding the U.N.’s sanctions as the toughest ever imposed by the security council, the U.S. Treasury Department added its own penalties to the mix.
The Treasury Department’s efforts support an asset freeze against North Korea’s Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry, the Academy of National Defense Science and the National Aerospace Development Administration.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew also sanctioned two individuals, Choe Chun Sik and Kang Mun-Kil, citing their direct contribution to North Korea’s WMD-related activities.
“Our coordinated efforts send a clear message: the global community will not tolerate North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and there will be serious consequences until it modifies its reckless behavior,” Lew said in a statement.
The U.N. sanctions that Lew dubbed “historic” also call for the inspection of all planes and ships coming into and leaving the country.
All trade with the capital of Pyongyang, which ironically means “Peaceful land” in English, will end; and all banks believed to be linked to the country’s nuclear and missile programs will be frozen.
All exports of coal, iron, ore, gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth minerals also will be blocked.
Any North Korean diplomats who participated in the tests are to be tossed out of U.N. member states, and all supplies of aviation fuel and small arms will be cut off.
The U.N. has identified 13 individuals involved in the testing, froze their assets and has blocked them from future travel.
Headquartered on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the U.N. council released a statement saying the country’s activities were “in violation and flagrant disregard” of previous warnings, and that it condemned those actions “in the strongest terms.”
The 19-page order from the body says the measures it took “are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK or to affect negatively those activities, including economic activities and cooperation.”
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, from South Korea, also lauded the decision.
“The firm response by the Security Council should put an end to the cycle of provocation and lead to the resumption of dialogue in accordance with the unified view of the international community,” he said in a statement.
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