UPDATE : 2017.9.22 FRI 18:42
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N. Korea denounces new U.N. sanctions

North Korea on Wednesday condemned new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) following its sixth nuclear test, vowing to strengthen its nuclear force at a faster pace.

North Korea's foreign ministry said that it "categorically" rejected the U.N. sanctions, which it says are aimed at "completely suffocating its state and people through a full-scale economic blockade."

The adoption of the U.S.-led sanctions served as an occasion for North Korea to "verify that the road it chose to go down was absolutely right and to strengthen its resolve to follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over," showed a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

This photo, provided by The Associated Press on Sept. 11, 2017, shows the United Nations Security Council's adoption of new sanctions over North Korea's sixth nuclear test. (Yonhap)

The UNSC adopted new sanctions Monday in the wake of North Korea's most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The sanctions include a freeze on North Korean imports of crude oil at current levels of 4 million barrels a year and a cap on imports of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels annually, or about half the current levels.

It is the first time the Security Council has targeted oil in its sanctions against the regime.

Resolution 2375 also includes a ban on exports of North Korean textiles, a key source of revenue for the regime and restrictions on the use of North Korean workers overseas. It also prohibits North Korean imports of liquefied natural gas and condensates.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the latest U.N. sanctions are just another "very small step" and "nothing compared to" what will happen in dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also warned that if China fails to fully implement the new U.N. sanctions, the U.S. could impose additional sanctions on China and prevent it from accessing the U.S. financial system.

The U.S. had pushed for a complete oil embargo for the latest U.N. punitive measures. But the council adopted the watered-down sanctions resolution as China and Russia, two of the five veto-wielding council members, reportedly balked at any move that could destabilize the impoverished country.

Experts said that the fresh U.N. sanctions may not be sufficient enough to prod North Korea to change its behavior.

But it is meaningful that by targeting oil supplies to the regime for the first time, the international community signaled a strong warning that tougher actions could be taken in the future, they added. (Yonhap)

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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