Korea to "redouble" nuke, missile tests in response to sanctions: FM

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

North Korea has rejected and strongly condemned the UN Security Council's new resolution over its latest nuclear test.

The ministry said the USA and other countries had "rigged up yet another "resolution on sanctions" harsher than ever against the DPRK" in response to North Korea's sixth nuclear test on September 3.

"We think it's just another very small step, not a big deal", said Trump during a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Washington.

"It's nice to get a 15 to nothing vote", he added.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a new sanctions resolution against the North earlier in the day that includes heavy restrictions on hiring of North Korean workers overseas.

The adoption of the USA -led sanctions served as an occasion for North Korea to "verify that the road it chose to go down was absolutely right and to strengthen its resolve to follow this road at a faster pace without the slightest diversion until this fight to the finish is over", showed a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

But underscoring the big questions about Chinese and Russian compliance, senior US officials told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that effective enforcement by both of the North's neighbors and trading partners will be the acid test of whether sanctions work. The council banned North Korean textile exports, an important source of hard currency, and capped its imports of crude oil.

"It's a negotiation", the US official said.

Government estimates of the yield from its sixth nuclear test vary from South Korea's 50 kilotons to Japan's 160, but 38 North, which is linked to Johns Hopkins University in the USA, raised its estimate to "roughly 250 kilotons", in line with upward revisions for the magnitude of the resulting tremor.

It also bans joint ventures with North Korean entities, except for non-profit public utility infrastructure projects. In July, US senators introduced two bipartisan bills targeting North Korea's financial support system, primarily from China.

But such measures did little to change North Korea's behavior.

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The latest resolution also calls on countries to inspect vessels on the high seas, with the consent of the flag state, if they have reasonable grounds to believe the ships are carrying prohibited cargo to North Korea.

"We can designate Chinese banks and companies unilaterally, giving them a choice between doing business with North Korea or the United States", said Royce, who had breakfast on Tuesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

As a result, the respected United States website 38 North, which is linked to Johns Hopkins University, said it was raising its estimate for the yield of the blast to "roughly 250 kilotons".

To kick-start talks, China and Russian Federation have proposed a dual suspension of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile testing, as well as US and South Korean military exercises.

More than 90 percent of North Korea's publicly reported 2016 exports were banned now under these new measures.

After late-night negotiations Sunday with China, the USA delegation broadly weakened a sanctions proposal that Beijing was unwilling to support.

The State Department's Thornton said Seoul had "come around very nicely" and appeasement not South Korea's policy.

One of the two bills, the North Korean Enablers Accountability Act, introduced by Senator Cory Gardner in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, would allow the USA president to "block any entity or financial institution implicated in any significant trade in goods or services with North Korea from the U.S. financial system".

Han did not elaborate, but North Korea frequently vows to destroy the United States. Australia urges all members of the global community, including China, to use its unique economic leverage over Pyongyang as it would lead to further pressure on the North Korean regime.

Another senior administration official told Reuters any such "secondary sanctions" on Chinese banks and other companies were on hold for now to give China time to show it was prepared to fully enforce the latest and previous rounds of sanctions. "That is not acceptable", she said.

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