Seoul warns Pyongyang against nuclear test
AFPSEOUL -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held an emergency security meeting Thursday that warned North Korea of “serious consequences” if it went through with an expected nuclear test.
February 1, 2013, 1:01 am TWN
The meeting at the presidential Blue House included the defense minister, National Intelligence Service chief and the national security advisor.
A statement issued afterwards said Lee had insisted on a strengthened defense posture, given Pyongyang's apparent desire to take advantage of the ongoing leadership transition in the South.
Lee will be formally replaced as president by the newly elected Park Geun-hye on Feb. 25.
“The government urges North Korea to immediately stop all provocative statements and actions and abide by international obligations including U.N. Security Council resolutions,” the statement said.
“If the North miscalculates and commits a provocative act again, it would face various serious consequences,” it added.
North Korea has threatened to carry out its third nuclear test in response to U.N. sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for its long-range rocket launch in December.
It has also warned of “physical counter-measures” against the South if Seoul “directly participates” in the U.N. sanctions.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin later visited a front-line army unit and called for tight vigilance.
“Provocations are always possible because North Korean troops have been put on full alert,” he said, adding South Korean troops should cope swiftly with any provocations.
After North Korea's rocket launch, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution, expanding sanctions imposed on the country after its nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
North Korea's space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals were added to the U.N. sanctions list for an assets freeze and travel ban.
According to Lee's national security advisor, Chun Young-woo, numerous North Korean state entities have begun opening special accounts in China to pre-empt fresh sanctions that would almost inevitably follow a nuclear test.
“In anticipation of U.N. sanctions, North Korea has opened dozens of these bank accounts under aliases,” Chun was quoted as telling a seminar on Wednesday by the Chosun Ilbo daily.
Insisting that the North had been repeatedly “weasling” out of sanctions already imposed, Chun said the U.N. measures against Pyongyang should be ramped up to the level of those imposed on Iran.
Activists wear the face masks of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju, bottom left, as they “beg” for money during an anti-Pyongyang rally urging North Korea to ...