x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

N Korea will 'weaponise' its plutonium

Pyongyang vows to embark on a uranium enrichment programme and "weaponise" all the plutonium in its possession.

SEOUL // North Korea vowed today to embark on a uranium enrichment programme and "weaponise" all the plutonium in its possession as it rejected the new UN sanctions meant to punish the communist nation for its recent nuclear test. North Korea also said it would not abandon its nuclear programs and claimed it was an inevitable decision to defend itself from what it says is a hostile US policy and its nuclear threat against the North.

The North will take "resolute military action" if the United States or its allies try to impose any "blockade" on it, the ministry said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The ministry did not elaborate if the blockade refers to an attempt to stop its ships or impose sanctions. North Korea has described its nuclear programme as a deterrent against possible US attacks.

Washington said it has no intention of attacking and has expressed fear that North Korea is trying to sell its nuclear technology to other nations. The statement came hours after the UN Security Council approved tough new sanctions on North Korea to punish it for its latest nuclear test on May 25. The UN resolution imposes new sanctions on the reclusive communist nation's weapons exports and financial dealings, and allows inspections of suspect cargo in ports and on the high seas.

The South Korean government said it "welcomes and supports the unanimous adoption of the resolution". A Foreign Ministry statement said it showed the council's unequivocal intention to stop the North's nuclear programme and its proliferation. *AP