NEW: North Korea will continue to launch satellites, Foreign Ministry says
A resolution condemning North Korea's recent rocket launch is unanimously approved
"(It) makes clear that there will be an increasingly steep price to pay," says Susan Rice
U.S. believes launch tested ballistic missile technology; North Korea says it was for science
The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted on Tuesday a resolution condemning North Korea’s recent rocket launch and expanding existing U.N. sanctions.
“This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation of its obligations under previous resolutions,” the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, told reporters after the vote.
“More importantly, the provisions of this resolution – both new sanctions and the tightening and expanding of existing measures – concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea’s (weapons of mass destruction) program and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programs,” she said.
Specifically, the resolution imposes sanctions on a handful of North Korean companies, a bank and its space agency. Four individuals also were added to the blacklist.
Pyongyang has previously pressed ahead with rocket launches and nuclear tests despite international sanctions.
In December, North Korea angered many in the international community by launching a long-range rocket that appeared to put a satellite in orbit, a breakthrough for the reclusive, nuclear-equipped state.
The rocket successfully blasted off from a space center on the country’s west coast and delivered a satellite into its intended orbit, the North Korean regime said. The launch followed a botched attempt in April and came just days after Pyongyang suggested a planned launch could be delayed.
Many nations, such as the United States and South Korea, considered the rocket launch to be a cover for testing ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang has insisted its aim was to place a scientific satellite in space “for peaceful purposes.”
“Today’s resolution makes clear that there will be an increasingly steep price to pay if North Korea again chooses confrontation with this council and the international community,” Rice said.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a response to the Security Council’s action, saying it will maintain its military power and continue to launch “peaceful satellites.”
“We will continue to expand and strengthen our self-defensive military power, including nuclear deterrence, to cope with U.S.’s scheme of putting (on) sanction pressures,” said the statement, which was carried by KCNA, North Korea’s state news agency.
North Korea also said it is open to peace talks but would not discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.
“In the future, there could be talks about the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, but there won’t be any dialogue regarding (the) denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.
South Korea said its northern neighbor should “halt any additional provocation, and it should clarify its effort of denuclearization through specific action.”
South Korea also said that it did not see any unusual movement from North Korea after the resolution was passed.
“As of 10 a.m. (Wednesday) Korea time (8 p.m. ET Tuesday), no unusual movements were observed,” said Unification Ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin.
CNN’s KJ Kwon contributed to this report.