UN steps up sanctions over North Korea's nuclear test

Pauline Gross
September 13, 2017

U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood hailed the Security Council sanctions imposed Monday, saying "the global community will never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called the nuclear risk in North Korea the most unsafe crisis in the world today, told reporters Tuesday that "the unity of the Security Council is absolutely crucial".

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).

The draft obtained by the media on Monday shows the result of Sunday's negotiations between the USA and China, North Korea's key oil supplier and major trading partner. Exports of North Korean textiles are prohibited, and other nations are barred from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers, putting a squeeze on two key sources of hard currency. Rycroft says that these new sanctions are "a very significant tightening up" of measures that were already pretty tough to begin with.

When commenting on the adoption of new sanctions, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the "strong relationship" between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping played a major factor in passing the resolution.

Kim Jong-un praised the "perfect success" of the country's sixth and largest nuclear test and urged further weapons development, according to state media Sunday, in the face of a U.S. drive for tough new sanctions.

"The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country's sovereignty and right to existence and to preserve peace and security of the region by establishing the practical equilibrium with the USA", it said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

"We don't take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today".

Haley said the Trump administration believes the new sanctions combined with previous measures would ban over 90 percent of North Korea's exports reported in 2016.

Kim's remarks are notable since they came while the UN Security Council is discussing imposing extremely harsh sanctions against the North, such as shutting off its supply of crude oil.

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But Kang added both the USA and South Korea believed in following a policy of "responding firmly (to) provocations through tough sanctions while leaving the door open for dialogue".

But no weapons test was detected from North Korea as of Saturday afternoon, as people in the capital went through customary practices of showing loyalty to late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the father of third-generation leader Kim Jong Un. China is North Korea's main ally and by far its biggest trading partner, including for oil shipments.

Of course, Beijing is unlikely to agree to an embargo or even an expansion of sanctions; authoritative reports in Chinese state media have echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of this last nuclear test in stressing the ineffectiveness of sanctions. Almost 80 percent went to China. But it is known to have declined considerably under Kim Jong-un.

"The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return", she said.

The US and its allies have been calling for stern measures against North Korea since the September 3 nuclear test.

Mr. Ascione also argued that the US should brace for "a worst case scenario on the Korean peninsula".

Actors tied to the isolated nation have been involved in attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, FireEye said.

Dubbing the latest test the "great auspicious event of the national history", he called for "redoubled efforts" to complete the country's mission to fully become a recognised nuclear power.

North Korea has also tested a missile capable of reaching the United States, but experts say it is likely to be at least a year before it can field an operational nuclear missile that could threaten America.

"It does sound like US patience is running out", Ruggiero said.

Other reports by GizPress

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