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North Korea, which has called U.N. sanctions a "declaration of war", may be preparing for a second nuclear test, according to Japanese and South Korean officials. Policy analysts debate whether the sanctions will deter the communist country.
Tonight's elaborate celebration in Pyongyang marked the 80th anniversary of North Korea's communist union and projected images of a country seemingly unfazed by international sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to impose the sanctions on Saturday, five days after North Korea's first nuclear test. Resolution 1718 calls for U.N. member states to prevent the direct or indirect supply of nuclear components, conventional weapons components, and luxury goods to North Korea; in addition, member states must also immediately freeze some overseas financial assets of North Korean leaders.
The sanctions were designed so they wouldn't stop delivery of humanitarian aid to North Korea. The country lost as many as three million people in the 1990s due to famine. And the North remains heavily reliant on food aid to keep its estimated 23 million people fed.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, issued a statement through state television today. Along with calling the sanctions an "act of war," the message declared Pyongyang would not yield to international pressure.
KimJong Il took power in 1994 after his father, Kim Il Sung, died. According to reports, Kim Jong Il enjoys luxury goods, including cognac, caviar and expensive sushi flown in from around the world, while his people are among the world's poorest.
China has already begun to impose the sanctions, inspecting shipments into North Korea. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill is the top U.S. negotiator in the six-party talks aimed at eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Hill attended crisis meetings in South Korea, and he told reporters today the North, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK, was misreading the current situation.
CHRISTOPHER HILL, Assistant Secretary of State: The DPRK is under some impression that, once they make nuclear tests, that somehow we will respect them more. The fact of the matter is: Nuclear tests make us respect them less.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Tokyo tomorrow to rally government support for the sanctions.
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