North Korea warns US of retaliation for tough UN sanctions
Seoul: North Korea warned of retaliation if the UN Security Council approves a US proposal for harsher sanctions after Pyongyang conducted is sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
Kim Jong Un’s regime “is closely following the moves of the US with vigilance”, its state-run Korean Central News Agency said Monday, citing a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs. “In case the US eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the US pays a due price,” it said, using its formal country name.
The warning came as US called for a vote on Monday on a draft resolution to tighten sanctions on North Korea, which has repeatedly tested bombs and missiles as it seeks the ability to target US with a nuclear weapon. Kim through a banquet over the weekend to reward the scientists and engineers behind the 3 September test, which North Korea said was a hydrogen bomb.
In response, US, South Korea and Japan want the Security Council to implement stronger measures against North Korea, including bans on oil imports, exports of textiles and employment of its guest workers by other countries. They also want to freeze Kim’s assets. The draft is subject to approval by all 15 members of the security council.
The US is willing to risk a veto of its proposal rather than see it watered down, according to a security council diplomat who asked not to be identified while negotiations were ongoing.
It’s unclear whether the proposal will pass. China and Russia, which can veto any UN measures, have expressed skepticism that tough sanctions will stop North Korea’s nuclear push and have pushed for peace talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said more sanctions wouldn’t work, while China is wary about cutting off Kim’s economic lifeline to the point it risks collapsing his regime. China is North Korea’s main ally and by far its biggest trading partner, including for oil shipments.
China would support further UN action if it helped restart dialogue with North Korea, foreign minister Wang Yi said last week. Observers have said Beijing might agree to just a partial, or temporary, oil exports ban.
Chinese state banks have started suspending transactions through accounts held by North Koreans, Kyodo News reported Sunday, citing unidentified people. Branches near North Korea of at least three state banks have also banned North Koreans from opening accounts, according to the Japanese news agency.