North Korea has warned that it will inflict “the greatest pain and suffering” on the US if it continues to call for fresh sanctions in response to the regime’s sixth nuclear test last week.
According to a draft resolution leaked to the media, Washington wants the UN Security Council to support a halt to oil exports to North Korea and a freeze on the assets of its leader, Kim Jong-un.
In the court of Kim Jong-un: a ruthless, bellicose despot, but not mad. The US, which is seeking a meeting of the security council later on Monday, also backs an end to textile imports and a ban on North Koreans working overseas, where they earn much-needed foreign currency for the regime.
Pyongyang claims it tested a hydrogen bomb on 3 September that can be loaded onto an intercontinental missile [ICBM], drawing widespread condemnation and increasing pressure on Donald Trump to respond.
North Korea’s recent volley of missile launches, combined with last Sunday’s nuclear test, suggest it is edging closer to its goal of building a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland – a game-changing development that Trump vowed in January “won’t happen”.
In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency on Monday, North Korea’s foreign ministry warned the US that if it “did rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the US pays a due price”.
Referring to the country by its official title, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it added: “The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it has ever gone through in its entire history.
“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking a series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged.”
Differences have opened up between permanent security council members about how to respond to the nuclear test, weeks after they unanimously backed tougher sanctions when Pyongyang launched two ICBMs that, theoretically, could reach several US cities.
China, by far the biggest exporter of crude oil to the North, condemned last week’s nuclear test but is wary of any measure that could foment political instability in Pyongyang.
China’s greatest fear is a united post-Kim Korean peninsula under Seoul’s control, with tens of thousands of South Korean and US troops ranged along its border with the North.
Russia has also indicated it opposes an oil embargo.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)