Furious North Korea promises America 'greatest pain in history'

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

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The Security Council is due to vote in NY on a US-drafted resolution to impose new restrictions on the rogue state following its sixth and largest nuclear test, carried out just over a week ago.

After almost a year of anticipation, North Korea finally went ahead with its sixth and largest nuclear test to date. "We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing" and instead are taking steps to prevent it "from doing the wrong thing".

Ethnic Koreans living in Japan are nervously watching growing tensions over North Korea and are wary of a possible backlash against their community as Pyongyang ramps up its sabre-rattling.

The spike in activity began soon after the US said it planned to ratchet up sanctions against North Korea.

After several days of negotiations on the resolution, Washington dropped several measures to win the support of Russian Federation and China, including a bid for an oil embargo and the blacklisting of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the national airline.

North Korea is suspected of intensifying cyber-attacks to steal virtual currency in order to obtain funds and avert tightening sanctions, according to security experts.

The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, told the Security Council after the vote: "We don't take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today".

"I can't say this loudly but I secretly think well done" on North Korea's development of missile and nuclear capabilities, she said. "It remains on the table at the Security Council and we will insist on it being considered".

China's United Nations ambassador, Liu Jieyi, called for a resumption of negotiations "sooner rather than later".

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But despite the U.S. assessment that these are the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea, some experts said that their impact will only be effective if paired with additional sanctions.

Merkel has spoken to leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about North Korea this week.

30 November 2016: United Nations targets North Korea's valuable coal trade with China, slashing exports by about 60 percent under a new sales cap. Almost 80 percent went to China.

Specifically, this resolution will result in a 30% decrease in total oil imports by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea, the United States official told CNN. "These are the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea". But it only caps Pyongyang's imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months, and it limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year.

Both Russia and China reiterated their proposal that the United States and South Korea freeze all military drills - which anger North Korea - and asked for a halt in the deployment of the controversial anti-missile system Thaad in exchange for Pyongyang's cessation of its weapons programmes.

The relationship between China and North Korea is often described with reference to Mao Zedong's apocryphal description of the two countries being as "close as lips and teeth". Wages at textiles factories grew tenfold around 2010 when North Korea was experimenting with economic reforms, according to Green, so people suddenly went from earning 30 North Korean won to 300 won.

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that implementing a negotiations format similar to the one used for clinching Iran nuclear deal, may help settle the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

This ban would eventually starve the regime of an additional Dollars 500 million or more in annual revenues, she added.

The US draft also identified nine ships that have carried out activities prohibited by previous UN resolutions and would authorise any UN member state to stop these vessels on the high seas without their consent and use "all necessary measures" - which in UN language includes force - to carry out an inspection and direct the vessel to a port.

Accordingly, despite the significant increase in the explosive yield of this most recent and extraordinary test, China's basic response remained ordinary.

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