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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N. Korea Threatens to Retaliate Against South Over UN Sanctions

by VOA News January 25, 2013

North Korea has threatened 'strong physical countermeasures' against South Korea if Seoul directly takes part in a new U.N. resolution tightening sanctions against Pyongyang for pursuing nuclear weapons.

A statement released Friday by the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland warned that sanctions mean a declaration of war. The statement also threatened to end all dialogue with anyone on denuclearization.

Sihn Beom-cheol, of the Institute for Defense Analyses, called the warning part of a push to legitimize North Korea's behavior.

​​'This is an ongoing effort by the North to justify its provocations. If it were to conduct another nuclear test, the timing would be after March because North Koreans would want to watch the new government's policy unfold,' Sihn said.

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously condemned a North Korean rocket launch in December, calling it a violation of existing sanctions that ban it from developing missile and nuclear technology.

North Korea responded on Thursday by saying it would conduct a third nuclear test and carry out more rocket launches.

U.S. envoy Glyn Davies called North Korea's comments 'troubling and counterproductive.' Speaking from Beijing, he said his Chinese counterparts had agreed a new nuclear test would be harmful.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korea Studies, told VOA's Korean service that North Korea's message Friday is an indirect warning to South Korea that the current policies will make confrontation 'inevitable.'

'Indirectly it is sending a strong warning to the incoming government [of South Korea] that if the current hostile policy continues confrontation is inevitable,' Yang said.

​​Recent satellite photos suggest North Korea has been preparing for a nuclear test, at the same Punggye-ri site where it conducted its previous tests in 2006 and 2009.

South Korea's defense ministry Thursday said the facility could be ready to conduct a test at any time, if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decides to do so.

Although the North Korean statement Thursday said the nuclear tests and rocket launches were 'targeted at the United States,' analysts say North Korea does not have a missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. They say it also has not mastered the technology necessary to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

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