Three major North Korean companies have been put on a UN blacklist for aiding Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programmes.
The decision by the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee will require nations that have dealings with the firms to freeze their assets – a move rejected by North Korea’s UN envoy. Pak Tok Hun, United Nations Ambassador for North Korea, said: “It is (the) inalienable right of every nation and country to make peaceful use of outer space. That’s why we totally reject and do not recognise any sort of decision which has been made, or would be made, in the security council.” The move is in response to the Security Council’s condemnation of North Korea’s long-range rocket launch two weeks ago and its decision to expel UN nuclear monitors. Meanwhile, state television reports that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, has met with scientists involved in the launch, which it described as “successful.” Pyongyang’s also announced that it has started reprocessing nuclear fuel rods at its plant that produces weapons-grade plutonium – another blow to hopes that disarmament talks might resume soon.