North Korea rejected the latest round of United Nations sanctions on the isolated state, and vowed to accelerate its plans to acquire a nuclear weapon that can strike the US homeland.
In its first official response to the new resolution, North Korea’s foreign ministry released a statement on state-run media saying the sanctions justified its nuclear push and strengthened its will to “follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over.”
“The adoption of another illegal and evil ‘resolution on sanctions’ piloted by the US served as an occasion for the DPRK to verify that the road it chose to go down was absolutely right,” the ministry said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. “The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and right to
existence,” KCNA said, using the country’s formal name.
The comments come as the world awaits Kim’s next move. South Korea said that the isolated state remained technically prepared to perform a nuclear test, and analysts say that he may launch a missile in the next few days. The international community is split on how to deal with Kim’s provocations, with the US having watered down sanctions to get China and Russia — the biggest economic patrons of North Korea — on board.
The UN Security Council agreed to a set of new sanctions including banning textile exports from the country and capping imports of refined petroleum as a way to punish Pyongyang for conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test September 3. The US estimated that measures would cut the country’s revenues by $1.3 billion and slash its oil supply by 30 percent.
The final version of the sanctions fell short of US’s draft proposal that called for a complete oil-supply ban and freeze of Kim’s assets abroad. China and Russia — North Korea’s two biggest allies with veto power at the Security Council — objected to the more stringent penalties.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned that China could face additional sanctions from the US if it didn’t follow through with the UN resolution. “If China doesn’t follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system — and that’s quite meaningful,” Mnuchin said during an event at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York.
Trump plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sept. 21 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reported.
In an interview with the Nikkei newspaper, Abe said that Japan was in agreement with the US and South Korea that dialogue would only be possible when North Korea committed to complete and verifiable denuclearization. Speaking to reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport before departing for India, Abe said the international community must enforce the latest round of sanctions.
Since the test of what North Korea claims was a hydrogen bomb, neighboring countries and the US have been closely watching for possible further provocations by Kim. South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon had earlier warned that Kim would launch an
intercontinental ballistic missile around the regime’s founding
anniversary on September 9.
Japan’s ruling party mulls
A former wrestler-turned-lawmaker who once fought Muhammad Ali said some members of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party are
considering visiting Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leaders.
“In the LDP there are some people seeking dialogue,” independent lawmaker Antonio Inoki told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday, without providing any names or saying how many were considering a trip. “There’s a change in atmosphere at the moment” about the need for talks rather than pressure, he said.
Inoki, 74, said he has visited the country 32 times and on a trip to Pyongyang earlier this month he said he met with top officials including Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Kim Yong Nam, president of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly. While he didn’t elaborate on his discussions with them, he said they had “frank” talks over drinks.
“Leaders of both the US and North Korea are raising their fists and creating more tension,” Inoki said. “I’m looking to see who will lower their fist first.” Inoki has a track record of
negotiating with rogue leaders.
Trump to visit China in November
US President Donald Trump will visit China in November, a person familiar with his plans said, as tensions flare on the Korean peninsula due to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests. White House officials declined to comment. Trump is expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Association of South East Asian Nations summits in Vietnam and the Philippines in November.
Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Trump to pay a state visit to China when the two leaders met for the first time at Trump’s golf resort in Florida in April. During that meeting, Trump notified Xi that he had authorized air strikes on Syria over allegations of chemical-weapons use.
Trump said he’d taken a liking to the Chinese leader, but in the months since, he’s reverted to criticizing China for its trade policies and has accused country of failing to exert sufficient pressure on N Korea. He regularly calls on China to stop N Korea’s nuclear advancement and said in July it could “easily” end the crisis.