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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea warns of 'self-defense' against UN punishment

RIA Novosti

15:3229/05/2009 MOSCOW, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea will not succumb to international pressure and will defend itself if provoked by the United Nations Security Council, the country's foreign ministry said on Friday.

The Security Council is considering a new resolution with possible sanctions against Pyongyang over the reclusive communist state's nuclear test earlier this week.

"If the UN Security Council continues provocations, we will inevitably respond with further self-defense measures," the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The statement also said that country would not recognize any Security Council resolutions unless the council first apologizes for criticizing North Korea's nuclear test.

Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean government official on Friday as saying North Korea has launched a short-range missile from its east coast, the latest in a series of missile launches this week, seen as a warning signal to potential enemies.

The statement continued: "The world will soon see how our armed forces and people will stand against the power and despotism of the U.N. Security Council to the end and protect their dignity and sovereignty."

Russia, which has in recent years joined China in blocking harsh sanctions against North Korea, has pledged to back a new UN resolution on the nuclear test.

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned against punishing the North "for the sake of punishment," and insisted that the only way out of the problem is through dialogue.

Since the start of the week Pyongyang has conducted an underground nuclear test explosion and test launched at least six short-range surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles in defiance of previous UN resolutions.

Pyongyang is already under a number of UN sanctions over its first nuclear test, carried out in 2006.

Possible new sanctions may include a ban on importing and exporting all arms and not just heavy weapons, additional asset freezes and travel bans for North Korean officials, and placing more firms on a UN blacklist, according to UN sources.

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