North Korea vows to retaliate against US over sanctions

South Korean soldiers stand guard before North Korea's Panmon Hall (rear C) and the military demarcation line separating North and South Korea, at Panmunjom, on 6 AugustImage copyright
AFP

Image caption

Tensions between North and South have intensified as Pyongyang continues its missile tests

North Korea has vowed to retaliate and make “the US pay a price” for drafting fresh UN sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons programme.

The sanctions, which were unanimously passed by the UN on Saturday, were a “violent violation of our sovereignty,” the official KCNA news agency said.

Separately, South Korea says the North has rejected an offer to restart talks, dismissing it as insincere.

The sanctions will aim to reduce North Korea’s export revenues by a third.

The unanimous UN Security Council decision followed repeated missile tests by the North which have escalated tensions on the peninsula.

In its first major response on Monday, North Korea insisted that it would continue to develop its controversial nuclear weapons programme.

The state-run KCNA news agency said Pyongyang would “not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table” while it faces threats from the US.

It threatened to make the US “pay the price for its crime…thousands of times,” referring to America’s role in drafting the UN sanctions resolution.

‘Insincere offer’

The remarks come after reports emerged that the North and South Korean foreign ministers had met briefly on Sunday evening on the sidelines of a regional forum in the Philippine capital, Manila.

South Korean media reported that its foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, had shaken hands with her North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, in a brief and unarranged meeting at an official dinner event held by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) .

A South Korea official told the BBC that Mr Ri had dismissed his counterpart’s offer of talks as “insincere”.

Media captionNorth Korea’s second intercontinental missile launched last month was “seen from Japan”

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Ms Kang as saying that Mr Ri’s rejection of the talks proposal appeared to be connected with the new sanctions.

“I told him that [the two offers for talks] are an urgent matter that should be carried out immediately with any political agenda put aside and asked him to proactively react,” she was quoted as saying.

The foreign minister of China, which is Pyongyang’s closest ally, told journalists on Monday: “My feeling is that the North did not entirely reject the positive proposals raised by the South.” Wang Yi added that China also supported the South’s initiatives.

What are the new sanctions?

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AFP

  • Importing coal, seafood, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore from North Korea is banned
  • Countries cannot receive new North Korean workers
  • No new joint ventures with North Korean entities or individuals
  • No new investment in existing joint ventures
  • More individuals targeted with travel bans and assets freezes
  • Member states to report to Security Council within 90 days on how they have implemented resolution

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also at the Asean forum, where he spoke about North Korea.

Noting Russia and China’s participation in the unanimous vote, he told journalists it was clear there was now “no daylight among the international community” on their desire for North Korea to stop its tests.

Russia and China have previously differed with others on how to handle Pyongyang, but in recent months have joined calls for North Korea to stop its missile tests while also urging the US and South Korea to halt military drills.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump spoke to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in over the phone about relations on the Korean peninsula.

They agreed that North Korea “poses a grave and growing direct threat” and the two leaders were committed to fully implementing the latest round of UN sanctions, the White House said in a statement.

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