North Korea

Na­tion threat­ens re­tal­i­a­tion against U.S. but does not elab­o­rate

The Washington Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY MICHELLE YE HEE LEE michelle.lee@wash­post.com

as­sailed the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to im­pose tougher sanc­tions and warned of re­tal­i­a­tion against the United States.

seoul — North Korea on Tues­day con­demned the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to im­pose tougher sanc­tions and dou­bled down on its warn­ing that the United States would “suf­fer the great­est pain” it has ever ex­pe­ri­enced for lead­ing the ef­fort to ratchet up eco­nomic pres­sures on the reclu­sive na­tion.

The United Na­tions on Mon­day unan­i­mously agreed on its tough­est sanc­tions against North Korea, set­ting lim­its on its oil im­ports and ban­ning its tex­tile ex­ports. The United States and its al­lies had pushed for new sanc­tions to in­crease pres­sure on North Korea to agree to ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“My del­e­ga­tion con­demns in the strong­est terms and cat­e­gor­i­cally re­jects the lat­est il­le­gal and un­law­ful U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion,” North Korean Am­bas­sador Han Tae Song told the U.N.-spon­sored Con­fer­ence on Dis­ar­ma­ment in Geneva, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

Han said Wash­ing­ton “fab­ri­cated the most vi­cious sanc­tion res­o­lu­tion,” news agen­cies re­ported.

He said North Korea is “ready to use a form of ul­ti­mate means” but did not elab­o­rate, Reuters re­ported. North Korea had warned ahead of the U.N. vote that the United States would pay a “due price” if it pur­sues stronger sanc­tions.

In re­marks at the start of his White House meet­ing with Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak, Pres­i­dent Trump called the new sanc­tions “just an­other very small step.”

But, he warned with­out elab­o­rat­ing, “those sanc­tions are noth­ing com­pared to what ul­ti­mately will have to hap­pen.”

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion was a wa­tered-down ver­sion of what the United States and its al­lies had ini­tially sought: a full em­bargo on North Korea’s cru­cial crude oil sup­ply, which would have crip­pled the coun­try.

But China and Rus­sia, both ve­towield­ing mem­bers of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, were wary of mea­sures such as cut­ting off oil that would se­ri­ously desta­bi­lize North Korea. The United States agreed to tone down some of its de­mands to se­cure the votes of China and Rus­sia.

About 90 per­cent of North Korean trade goes through China, and China is North Korea’s main source of fuel.

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin said at a con­fer­ence hosted by CNBC on Tues­day that he would pur­sue sanc­tions against China if it does not ad­here to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion.

“If China doesn’t fol­low th­ese sanc­tions, we will put ad­di­tional sanc­tions on them and pre­vent them from ac­cess­ing the U.S. and in­ter­na­tional dol­lar sys­tem, and that’s quite mean­ing­ful,” he said, ac­cord­ing to news agen­cies.

The lat­est round of sanc­tions could have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on the North Korean econ­omy, po­ten­tially cut­ting up to $1.3 bil­lion in an­nual rev­enue.

Be­fore Mon­day’s vote, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil al­ready had im­posed sanc­tions on North Korea, in­clud­ing on its ex­ports of coal, iron ore and seafood.

But the mea­sures did lit­tle to change North Korea’s be­hav­ior. The coun­try con­ducted its sixth and most pow­er­ful nu­clear test on Sept. 3, det­o­nat­ing a de­vice that it claimed was a hy­dro­gen bomb de­signed to be car­ried by a lon­grange mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the U.S. main­land.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity widely con­demned the test.

The lat­est res­o­lu­tion caps North Korea’s im­ports of re­fined and crude oil at 8.5 mil­lion bar­rels a year, which rep­re­sents a 30 per­cent cut, said Nikki Ha­ley, the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions. Tex­tile ex­ports, banned un­der the res­o­lu­tion, rep­re­sent more than a quar­ter of North Korea’s ex­port in­come. More than 90 per­cent of North Korea’s re­ported ex­ports are now fully banned un­der sanc­tions, Ha­ley said.

South Korea praised the lat­est U.N. res­o­lu­tion, call­ing on North Korea to stop “try­ing to test the will of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.” It added that the “only way to break away from diplo­matic iso­la­tion and eco­nomic op­pres­sion is to re­turn to a ta­ble of dia­logues for com­plete, ir­re­versible, ver­i­fi­able nu­clear dis­man­tle­ment.”

DE­NIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS

North Korea’s am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, Han Tae Song, pic­tured in Geneva last week, said Tues­day that his na­tion re­jects the lat­est “il­le­gal and un­law­ful U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion.”

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