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(2nd LD) N. Korea warns of 'stern' responses against U.N. sanctions

All Headlines 19:10 March 04, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info, statement by NK foreign ministry in paras 2,8,9)

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned Friday that it will take "stern" actions in response to the United Nations Security Council's imposition of tougher sanctions over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

"We will mobilize various means and ways to take strong and merciless actions, including physical means," a spokesman at the North Korean government said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

The North warned that it will take "stern" actions against the move by the United States and its followers to crush its sovereign rights.

"We sternly reject the U.N. sanctions as we view them to be the most reckless provocation," it said.

The North's response came as the Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a new resolution sanctioning the North over its latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

The resolution calls for mandatory inspections of all cargo going into and out of North Korea and a ban on exports of mineral resources, a major source of hard currency for the cash-strapped country.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, followed by a long-range rocket launch last month, a move which outside experts view as a cover for a ballistic missile technology test.

North Korea's foreign ministry said that its possession of nuclear arsenals is for self-defense against what it called Washington's hostile policy against it, adding that it has the right to pursue the space program for peaceful purposes.

"It is a serious miscalculation to think that sanctions would work on the DPRK," a ministry spokesman said in a statement, referring to the acronym for the North's official name -- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered his military on Thursday to make the country's nuclear weapons ready to be used in an apparent expression of anger over the fresh U.N. sanctions.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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