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UNSC slaps new sanctions on North Korea

Posted on Mar 08, 05:55AM | IANS

New York, March 8 : The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining new sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the recent nuclear test carried out by Pyongyang.

The fourth set of UN sanctions is aimed at curbing the activities of North Korean banks suspected of funnelling money to the communist regime's nuclear and missile programmes.

The resolution includes measures to step up the scrutiny of suspicious North Korean sea and air cargo shipments and expands previous restrictions to encompass three North Korean officials and two entities in the country's weapons industry.

The resolution also condemns the latest North Korean nuclear test "in the strongest terms" for its disregard of previous UN resolutions, bans further ballistic missile launches, nuclear tests "or any other provocation", and demands that North Korea return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NNPT).

Russia, which currently holds the UN Security Council presidency, issued a statement expressing hope that Pyongyang would take the new sanctions seriously and halt further nuclear and ballistic missile development.

"We expect that all sides involved in the regional affairs would not take any action that could aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in northeastern Asia," the Russian foreign ministry said.

North Korea earlier warned that it could launch a preemptive nuclear strike against potential aggressors as the UN Security Council prepared to impose the new sanctions.

Earlier in the week, Pyongyang announced that it would annul the 1953 armistice that ended the three-year-long war over the Korean Peninsula in anticipation of the UN vote and the upcoming Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises involving South Korea and the US near North Korea's borders.

North Korea conducted a third nuclear test in defiance of UN resolutions and appeals from its neighbours Feb 12. The secretive regime previously conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.