Published : 2013-01-23 09:12
Updated : 2013-01-23 09:47
North Korea pledged on Wednesday to end any efforts at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, just hours after the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the country's December rocket launch, according to North Korea's state-run news outlet.
"Due to the U.S.'s worsening policy of hostility toward North Korea, the six-party talks and the joint September 19 statement were rendered null and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was put to an end," the North's foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"There will be no more discussion over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in the future although there will be talks for securing peace and security in the peninsula," according to the statement.
The country will "take physical actions to strengthen self-defense military capabilities including nuclear deterrence," the foreign ministry statement said, adding that measures can be taken to completely eliminate the source of hostile action and that the North is fully committed to taking a firm stance.
The comments can be interpreted as a sign that Pyongyang may engage in another nuclear test that could trigger harsher actions by the international community. The communist country conducted underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, with intelligence indicating it has made preparations to detonate another device.
The statement came less than two hours after the 15-member council voted unanimously to approve the 20-point resolution, which includes actions to step up sanctions against the communist country. Besides the KCNA report, radio stations that broadcast to both domestic and overseas listeners started carrying the foreign ministry statement starting at 7:10 a.m.
The resolution is aimed at punishing the country for its Dec. 12 launch of a long-range missile, which the outside world suspected was a cover for the country's test of ballistic missile technology.
Related to the U.N. resolution, which is the fifth of its kind in response to North Korea's rocket and nuclear tests, observers in Seoul said the "ball is now in Pyongyang's court" and depending on what action it takes, international relations will be affected.
"What is important is what actions are taken by the North," said Yun Duk-min, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.
Others speculated that in the aftermath of the U.N. resolution, talks on sanctions will be at the top of agendas for policymakers.
They said that if Pyongyang takes additional measures and provokes the outside world, such a move can effectively cause a reassessment of policies by the incoming Park Geun-hye government in South Korea and the Barack Obama administration.
Park, who takes office as the country's first female president on Feb. 25, has called for dialogue with the North, yet warned she will not tolerate additional provocations by the North.
Moreover, Seoul and Washington may be moving to impose sanctions independent of the resolution that can call for actions to be taken against North Korea's financial sector and maritime activities.
Meanwhile, some North Korean watchers were skeptical of what persuasive powers the U.N. resolution will have on the reclusive regime. (Yonhap News)