By CHOE SANG-HUN, SEOUL, South Korea (NY Times): North Korea said on Tuesday that it was abandoning an agreement in made in February with the United States, in which it promised to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests and long-range missile tests. The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that it “resolutely and totally” rejected the United Nations Security Council’s condemnation of its failed rocket launching last week, and that it would continue to launch rockets to try to place satellites into orbit.
The ministry’s statement hinted, but did not make clear, that the North may now conduct a long-range missile or nuclear test.
No longer bound by the deal, “we have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures,” the ministry said in the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences.”
The United States had already suspended its side of the deal because of the rocket launching, including 240,000 tons of food aid the United States had promised to the North.
The collapse of the deal cost the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency a chance to send inspectors into the isolated country for the first time in three years. And analysts said it made further North Korean provocations more likely.
North Korea argued on Tuesday that Washington was the first to renege on the February deal, by suspending the promised food aid and pressing the Security Council to condemn the rocket launching. In the deal, Washington had promised not to have “hostile intent” against the North.
Analysts have long questioned the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea. Some analysts said on Tuesday that China may have broken a Security Council resolution by providing 16-wheel missile-launching vehicles that were seen in a military parade in Pyongyang, the North’s capital, on Sunday carrying a new type of missile.
Ted Parsons of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly pointed out similarities to a known Chinese vehicle: “The same windscreen design, the same four windscreen wiper configuration, the same door and handle design, a very similar grill area. almost the same front bumper lighting configuration, and the same design for the cabin steps.”
He added that the involvement of a Chinese vehicle builder “in North Korea’s missile program would require approval from the highest levels of the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army.”
James Hardy, another analyst at Jane’s Defense Weekly, said that if it is confirmed, China’s involvement would breach a 2009 Security Council resolution that bans countries from supplying North Korea with “any arms or related matériel, or providing financial transactions, technical training, services or assistance related to such arms.”
On Tuesday, North Korea rejected the Security Council sanction resolutions as “brigandish” and meant to hamper countries from defending themselves. “Justice should be protected by one’s own efforts,” the ministry statement said.
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