N. Korea defiant toward sanctions
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea responded to new U.N. sanctions with more defiance, promising Saturday to step up its nuclear bomb-making program by enriching uranium and threatening war on any country that dares to stop its ships on the high seas.
The North’s threats were the first public acknowledgment that the reclusive communist nation has been running a secret uranium enrichment program. Suspicions of the program touched off the latest nuclear crisis in 2002.
The country also vowed never to give up its nuclear ambitions as a way to protect its sovereignty amid signs of preparations for naming its ailing leader Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Jong Un, as his successor.
Despite repeated assurances from Washington, North Korea has harbored deep-rooted suspicions that the U.S. could invade to topple its regime.
“It has become an absolutely impossible option for (North Korea) to even think about giving up its nuclear weapons,” the North’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.