The United Nations slapped sanctions on three North Korean firms accused of backing missile development, in its first concrete action against Pyongyang over its April 5 rocket launch.
A committee agreed on the sanctions after the Security Council condemned North Korea for its launch -- a statement that had so incensed the communist state that it stormed out of a six-nation denuclearization agreement.
The move bans transactions and calls on UN member-states to freeze the assets of two defensive companies -- Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and Korea Ryonbong General Corporation -- along with the Tanchon Commercial Bank.
Turkish Ambassador Baki Ilkin, who heads the sanctions committee, said the nations also updated a list of items whose transactions are import and export to and from North Korea are forbidden.
The update includes "some of the latest technologies relevant to ballistic missile programs," Ilkin told reporters.
Pak Tok-Hun, North Korea's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, denounced the new measures as a "wanton violation" of the United Nations charter.
"It is the inalienable right of every nation and country to make peaceful use of outer space," Pak said.
"That's why we totally reject and do not recognize any sorts of decision which has been made or will be made in the Security Council."
North Korea said its April 5 launch put into orbit a satellite that is broadcasting patriotic songs from the communist dynasty.
But no other nation has confirmed a satellite in orbit. The United States and its allies say that North Korea fired a rocket over Japan as part of its program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could conceivably hit the United States in the future.
Backed by the United States and its European allies, Japan had pressed the United Nations to impose a resolution, which is legally binding.
Nonetheless, the Security Council statement had activated the sanctions committee formed under UN Resolution 1718. The Security Council had unanimously approved that resolution after North Korea tested a long-range missile and an atom bomb.
Yukio Takasu, Japan's ambassador to the United Nations, hailed the "extraordinary effort" of the sanctions committee.
"I hope this unity could send a good signal to the rest of the world because the decisions by the sanctions committee are binding," Takasu said.
Among the blacklisted companies, Korea Mining is considered a "primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons," according to a Security Council document obtained by AFP.
Korea Ryonbong is a "defense conglomerate specializing in acquisition for DPRK defense industries and support to that country's military-related sales," it said, using the North's official name of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Tanchon Commercial Bank is North Korea's main financial entity handling sales of conventional arms, ballistic missiles and related goods, it said.
The three companies also have eight subsidiaries which will also fall under sanctions under the terms of the 2006 resolution, a Western diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.
But the diplomat said that China, North Korea's main ally, did not want to specify the subsidiaries by name.
Source: AFP Asian Edition