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Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:15 - Updated Wed, 13 Sep 2017 11:15

North Korea defiant over U.N. sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed

WASHINGTON - North Korea showed trademark defiance on Wednesday over new U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth and largest nuclear test, vowing to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a U.S. invasion.

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U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday’s sanctions, unanimously agreed on Monday by the 15-member U.N. Security Council, were just a small step towards what is ultimately needed to rein in Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

The North’s Foreign Ministry said the resolutions were an infringement on its legitimate right to self-defense and aimed at “completely suffocating its state and people through full-scale economic blockade”.

“The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to existence and to preserve peace and security of the region by establishing the practical equilibrium with the U.S.,” it said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.

The statement echoed comments on Tuesday by the North’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, who said Pyongyang was “ready to use a form of ultimate means”.

“The forthcoming measures ... will make the U.S. suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history,” Han said.

The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper also accused South Korea of being Washington’s “puppet”, criticizing Seoul’s agreement with the United States to amend an existing bilateral guideline that will now allow the South to use unlimited warhead payloads on its missiles.

The U.N. Security Council agreed to boost sanctions on North Korea, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, and making it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

The U.N. resolution was triggered by North Korea’s test of what it said was a hydrogen bomb.

Damage to mountainous terrain at the North’s nuclear test site in Punggye-ri seen in satellite imagery taken after the latest test was more extensive than anything seen after the five previous tests, the Washington-based 38 North project said.

There was also activity at another location in the Mount Mantap site involving large vehicles and mining equipment that suggests “onsite work could now be changing focus to further prepare those other portals for future underground nuclear testing”, said 38 North, which monitors North Korea.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, of continual plans for invasion.

North Korea has also tested a missile capable of reaching the United States, but experts say it is likely to be at least a year before it can field an operational nuclear missile that could threaten the U.S. mainland,REUTERS.

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