North Korea’s military has launched missiles into the Sea of Japan Thursday in response to new sanctions from the United Nations.
Experts are still trying to determine the exact nature of the weapons launched, but they are reported to be short-range ballistic missiles. The launch of the missiles took place just hours after the U.N. security council voted unanimously to pass a new battery of sanctions drafted by the U.S. and China, a North Korean ally.
“Virtually all of the DPRK’s [North Korea] resources are channeled into its reckless and relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” said Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., shortly after the vote.
The new sanctions follow North Korea’s January nuclear test and February missile test, which North Korea claims was a peaceful satellite launch. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress February 9 that North Korea had restarted its plutonium reactor and is poised to produce weapons-grade nuclear material within weeks.
North Korea’s launch follows a series of provocative moves that have been ongoing since late last year.
The key component of the new sanction is the provision requiring all cargo coming in and out of North Korea be inspected. Power called this component “hugely significant” and noted that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is a “master of evasion” and will likely still attempt to slip by the new regulation.
Power’s predecessor, Amb. John Bolton, reiterated the threat posed by North Korea Thursday while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. He heavily criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy towards North Korea and warned of its relationship with Iran.
“They [North Korea] are undoubtedly cooperating with the Ayatollah’s in Iran on ballistic missiles,” said Bolton.
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