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North Korea conducts artillery drill as UN, South Korea, Japan impose sanctions


North Korea has carried out a large-scale artillery drill simulating an attack on South Korea, as Seoul and Tokyo unveil fresh unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile program following a UN sanction resolution.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday guided the military exercise, which involved multiple batteries of frontline heavy artillery units and targeted five border islands as well as mock “reactionary ruling organs” in Seoul and other cities, North’s official Korean Central News Agency, KCNA, reported.

“If a war breaks out, such a deadly strike should be inflicted upon the South Korean forces to completely break their will of counteraction at the start and make a clean sweep of them,” KCNA quoted Kim Jong-un as saying during the artillery drill. “Nobody and nothing would survive,” he said.

The exercise came just hours after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution imposing tough new sanctions on North Korea following its fifth nuclear test in September.

The 15-member UNSC on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution that curbs Pyongyang’s biggest exports, of coal, by at least 60 percent. It also bans copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports from North Korea.

The UN resolution, spearheaded by the United States and passed by a 15-0 vote, condemned “in the strongest terms” North Korea’s latest nuclear test on September 9.

On September 9, North Korea said that it had conducted a successful “nuclear warhead explosion” test. State media claimed the test had achieved its goal of being able to fit a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a rocket.

North Korea on Thursday condemned the new UNSC resolution as a violation of its sovereignty.

KCNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying that the sanctions would not make North Korea abandon its nuclear program and would rather trigger “tougher countermeasures for self-defense” and would “inevitably escalate tensions.”

North Korea has been under a raft of UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests.

Pyongyang says it will not abandon its nuclear “deterrence” unless Washington ends its “hostile” policy toward the country.

Meanwhile, South Korea on Friday unveiled its own sanctions against Pyongyang, adding dozens of individuals and organizations to a blacklist of entities suspected of involvement in the North’s nuclear program.

Seoul said its expanded measures would blacklist senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong-un’s closest aides, Choe Ryong-hae and Hwang Pyong-so.

Senior government policy official Lee Suk-Joon said that given the absence of any trade links or meaningful contact of any sort between the two Koreas, the South’s measures are largely symbolic, and more aimed at “raising awareness.”

Japan also said it would expand its own list of unilateral sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on all ships that have called at ports in North Korea.

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