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UN approves new sanctions against North Korea

March 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously approved tough new sanctions to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test.

The resolution was drafted by the United States and China, North Korea's closest ally. It's a move that sparked North Korea to threaten to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States.

The penalties came in a unanimous resolution drafted by the U.S. along with China, which is North Korea's main benefactor. Beijing said the focus now should be to "defuse the tensions" by restarting negotiations.

North Korea kept up its warlike rhetoric Friday after the U.N. vote, issuing a statement saying it was canceling a hotline and a nonaggression pact with rival South Korea.

The fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang is an attempt to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It's also aimed at making it more difficult for North Korea to finance and obtain material for its weapons programs.

North Korea has enough nuclear fuel for several crude nuclear devices. But experts don't believe it has a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the U.S.

The North is also angry over upcoming U.S.-South Korean military drills. Tens of thousands of North Koreans gathered at a rally in Pyongyang Thursday to protest the U.S.-South Korean war drills and sanctions.

In anticipation of the resolution's adoption, North Korea earlier in the week threatened to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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