MANILA, Aug 07 (Agencies): North Korea vowed Monday to bolster its nuclear arsenal and launch "thousands-fold" revenge against the United States to respond to tough U.N. sanctions imposed after its intercontinental ballistic launches.
The North's warning came two days after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions to punish the North including a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called the U.S.-drafted resolution "the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against" North Korea.
In a statement carried by state media, the North Korean government said the sanctions were a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" that was caused by a "heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle" North Korea.
It said the U.N. sanctions will never force the country to negotiate over its nuclear program or to give up its push to strengthen its nuclear capability. The North said it will take "action of justice" but didn't elaborate.
North Korea test-launched two ICBMs last month as part of its efforts to possess a long-range missile capable of striking anywhere in the mainland U.S. Both missiles were fired at highly lofted angles and analysts say the weapons are capable of reaching parts of the United States if fired at a normal, flattened trajectory.
The centerpiece of the U.N. sanctions is a ban on North Korea exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood products - and a ban on all countries importing these products, estimated to be worth over $1.0 billion in hard currency.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of North Korea and South Korea spoke face-to-face at a gala in Manila Sunday night, according to South Korean media reports, at a time of heightened tensions over Pyongyang's weapons programmes.
South Korea's Kang Kyung-wha exchanged words with her North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap and broadcaster YTN. The annual security dialogue draws in 27 countries, including North and South Korea, the United States, China and Russia.
The short conversation, though unlikely to lead to a diplomatic breakthrough, represents the first known high-level encounter between the two Koreas since South Korea President Moon Jae-in took office in May, and follows the United Nations' decision Saturday to approve the "strongest sanctions ever imposed" in response to North Korea's missile testing.
Moon has long been a proponent of greater dialogue with Pyongyang in order to diffuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula. As an aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, Moon helped craft the so-called "Sunshine Policy," which called for an increase of engagement in the political and economic spheres
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