North Korea threatened Saturday to step up its nuclear weapons
production in response to the new sanctions imposed by the United
Nations Security Council.
The statement by North Korea's Foreign Ministry, carried by official media, also warned that Pyongyang will respond with military action to any attempt to blockade its ships.
Under the increased sanctions, U.N. member states have the authority to inspect all cargo heading to or from North Korea for material related to the country's nuclear and missile programs. The resolution adopted Friday also bans weapons exports from the North and tightens financial restrictions.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday said the sanctions provide the tools needed "to take appropriate action" against the communist nation.
Clinton spoke at a news conference at Niagara Falls, Ontario, with Canada's foreign minister (Lawrence Cannon). She described Pyongyang's continued provocative actions as regrettable and that it is not in North Korea's interest to continue its isolation.
The Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang said the North has already achieved progress in uranium enrichment technology and has moved on to experiments. This is the first time the secretive regime has made such an admission. In the statement, Pyongyang also threatened to weaponize all the plutonium in its possession.
Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, expressed concern that North Korea has help from partners, such as Iran.
The 15-member Security Council, including North Korea's allies Russia and China, voted unanimously Friday to impose tougher sanctions on the communist country for its nuclear weapon and missile tests last month.
Finance ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized nations say they are committed to "effective and timely" implementation of financial measures against North Korea set out in the U.N. resolution. The ministers (of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain and the United States) made a joint statement Saturday, after a two-day meeting in Italy.