North Korea to respond to Washington over new sanctions

Britain and the US have been taken aback by the acceleration in North Korea's missile programme
Credit
AFP

North Korea foreign ministry on Wednesday said that Pyongyang will speed up its nuclear and missile development and "categorically" rejects Monday's new United Security Security Council (UNSC) resolution against the country.

"Since the USA has thrown a comprehensive challenge to our country in all areas, including political, economic and military, we are ready to respond resolutely to this, and this is the firm and unshakable will of our army and our people", Xinhua cited Interfax news agency quoted Joong as saying.

North Korea Tuesday categorically rejected the new measures, with United Nations ambassador Han Tae-Song saying in Geneva that the U.S. had "fabricated the most vicious sanction resolution" and warning of retaliation. "The forthcoming measures. will make the U.S. suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history".

The official defended the US mission from critics who say the sanctions were watered down, arguing an early draft from the USA was given to the press to place pressure on any who might seek to soften the sanctions. But she also held out the prospect of a peaceful resolution to the crisis. "The choice is theirs". Additionally, these sanctions call for the freezing of an additional individual's assets and those of three additional entities, a travel ban on these entities, and a prohibition on member states in regard to the provision of work authorization to North Korean nationals.

Briefing the USA lawmakers, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea displayed satellite photos to demonstrate North Korea's deceptive shipping practices.

Mexico and Peru have expelled North Korean ambassadors from their countries in response to the tests.

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totaling $752 million.

South Korea welcomed the resolution while Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the sanctions were much stronger than earlier measures.

Mohamed Elmenshawy, an Egyptian analyst based in Washington, told The Associated Press the Trump administration has been privately urging Cairo to cut military ties with Pyongyang.

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Instead, for now, the United States is trying to pressure China to exert more influence on its communist neighbor.

Following the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley portrayed North Korea as increasingly isolated.

Instead, the resolution caps refined oil imports at 2 million barrels and crude oil imports at their current levels. China and Russian Federation reportedly voted for the sanctions after they were softened.

Yonhap's report late Monday quoted the South Korean Defense Ministry as saying Egyptian Defense Minister Sidki Sobhi told his South Korean counterpart that Cairo had "already severed all military ties with North Korea". "Politicians or the press can raise the question of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons as a way of dealing with the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons or missiles, but the government believes that actually doing so would be very problematic".

Last month Washington cut or delayed almost $300 million in aid to Egypt over its human rights record and its ties with Pyongyang.

"If North Korea continues its risky path, we will continue with further pressure".

However, the recent test demonstrated that sanctions do not prove to be effective in this regard.

And on September 3, the DPRK conducted its sixth test of a nuclear device - the most powerful its ever detonated - marking "an unacceptable provocation", Billingslea said.

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