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South Korea, Japan Join United Nations in Punishing North Korea

South Korean army soldiers ride an armored vehicle during an annual exercise in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, Dec. 2, 2016.
South Korea, Japan Join United Nations in Punishing North Korea
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South Korea and Japan are adding to recent international punishment against North Korea for its nuclear testing programs.

Japanese and South Korean officials announced the sanctions Friday. They are in response to North Korea’s threat to strike back against new United Nations sanctions announced earlier.

The United Nations announced new sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday. The punishments came in response to North Korea’s test of a nuclear device on September 9. China, North Korea’s main trading partner, and Russia agreed to the U.N. action.

North Korea’s vice foreign minister Han Song Ryol spoke to foreign diplomats in the nation’s capital, Pyongyang.

He said the new U.N. sanctions are “an abuse of power” and violate his country’s “right to self-defense,” according to the Associated Press.

Earlier, North Korea warned it will respond to the UN sanctions. It did not say what the response would be.

The sanctions announced Friday by Japan and Korea are mostly symbolic. Trade between the two nations and North Korea is largely non-existent because of sanctions already in place.

South Korea’s new sanctions ban North Korea from engaging in financial dealings with top aides to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Japanese officials said Friday they will bar ships that have traveled to North Korea from using Japanese ports.

Japan said it will also freeze holdings of groups and individuals connected to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council approved new sanctions without any opposition.The sanctions largely target North Korea’s coal exports. Coal is the country’s largest source of income.

UN Approves new sanctions against North Korea.
UN Approves new sanctions against North Korea.

United States State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the new sanctions will cut North Korea’s coal exports by more than 60 percent.

“None of these sanctions are directed and nor do we seek to punish the people of North Korea who indeed are long-suffering under the current regime,” Toner said.

He added that the sanctions target North Korea’s ruling class who he said are responsible for North Korea’s bad behavior.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA News reported on this story for Bruce Alpert adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sanctions - n. actions taken to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country

symbolic - adj. relating to or being used as a symbol

indeed - adv. without any question

regime - n. a form of government