A defiant North Korea today condemned a new round of UN sanctions and hinted it might carry out a nuclear test, while ruling out a resumption of talks on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

“We flatly reject and condemn the UN Security Council’s extremely unfair resolution that attempts to violate our sovereign rights,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

“We will take physical actions aimed at expanding and strengthening our self-defensive military forces, including nuclear deterrence,” the ministry said.

The statement came hours after the UN Security Council unanimously ordered new sanctions against North Korea for a banned rocket launch last month and threatened “significant action” if it stages a nuclear test.

The resolution, proposed by the United States, added North Korea’s space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals to an existing UN sanctions list for an assets freeze and travel ban.

North Korea insists that its December 12 rocket launch was a peaceful, scientific mission aimed at putting a satellite in space.

The UN resolution condemned it as a disguised ballistic missile test which violated existing sanctions imposed after the North’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Although Pyongyang’s response made no explicit mention of a nuclear test, the threat of “physical action” will fuel speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out its third detonation of a nuclear device.

The ministry statement denounced the “double standards” that allowed other countries to experiment with satellite launches but punished North Korea if it followed suit.

“Our scientists and engineers... will develop more and launch more powerful rockets,” it promised.

The statement also appeared to rule out any resumption of six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

The talks have been held intermittently since 2003, but Pyongyang walked out of the negotiations in April 2009, a month before it carried out its second nuclear test.

“There will be no dialogue to discuss denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” the North Korean statement said.

Last month, a US think-tank citing satellite photos said the North had repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation on two weeks’ notice.

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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