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(LEAD) N. Korea warns of 'stronger' reaction after U.S. imposes new sanctions

All News 06:59 January 14, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more info throughout, photo)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea warned Friday it will have to take "stronger and certain reaction" after the United States slapped new sanctions over the North's recent missile launches.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, a spokesperson for the North's foreign ministry said the recent launch of what it claims to be a hypersonic missile was an "exercise of right to self-defense."

"If the U.S. adopts such a confrontational stance, the DPRK will be forced to take stronger and certain reaction to it," the statement said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration slapped sanctions on six North Koreans involved in the reclusive regime's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The move came after the North launched what it claims to be a newly developed hypersonic missile Tuesday, the second such test in less than a week.

"The DPRK's recent development of new-type weapon was just part of its efforts for modernizing its national defense capability," the statement said. "It did not target any specific country or force and it did not do any harm to the security of neighboring countries."

The North called the U.S. move an "evident provocation and a gangster-like logic," and accused Washington of "intentionally escalating the situation."

"This shows that though the present U.S. administration is trumpeting about diplomacy and dialogue, it is still engrossed in its policy for isolating and stifling the DPRK," the statement said. "The DPRK will not abandon its just right."

North Korea has been testing a series of new weapons amid a deadlock in its nuclear negotiations with the U.S. The nuclear talks remain stalled since their Hanoi summit in 2019 ended without a deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday the North may continue launching more missiles, describing it as North Korea "trying to get attention."

Washington's top envoy to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said the U.S. is pushing for additional U.N. Security Council sanctions against the North.

This photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 12, 2022, shows what the North claims to be a new hypersonic missile being launched the previous day. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who watched the firing, "appreciated the practical achievements" made by those involved in research related to the missile development. South Korea's defense ministry said the previous day the North fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile into the East Sea. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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