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Dhaka Tribune

North Korea defiant over UN sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed

Update : 14 Sep 2017, 12:56 AM

North Korea showed trademark defiance on Wednesday over new UN sanctions imposed after its sixth and largest nuclear test, vowing to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a US invasion.

US President Donald Trump said Monday's sanctions, unanimously agreed on Monday by the 15-member UN Security Council, were just a small step towards what is ultimately needed to rein in Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programmes.

The North's Foreign Ministry said the resolutions were an infringement on its legitimate right to self-defence and aimed at "completely suffocating its state and people through full-scale economic blockade".

"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 US," it said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

The UN Security Council agreed to boost sanctions on North Korea, banning its textile exports and capping fuel supplies, and making it illegal for foreign firms to form commercial joint ventures with North Korean entities.

The UN resolution was triggered by North Korea's test of what it said was a hydrogen bomb.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, of continual plans for invasion.

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 the US mainland.

Another small step

Trump has vowed not to allow that to happen.

A tougher initial US draft resolution was weakened to win the support of China and Russia, both of which hold UN veto power. Significantly, it stopped short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China, North Korea's main ally and trading partner, that Washington would "put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system" if it did not follow through on the new measures.

Russia and China both say they respect UN sanctions and have called on the United States to return to negotiations with North Korea. They have also said they could kick-start talks with North Korea if the United States halts joint military drills with South Korea, which Washington has rejected.

In another show of force, South Korea's Air Force conducted its first live-fire exercise of Taurus long-range, air-to-surface missiles on Tuesday, the defence ministry said, as practice for precision bombing North Korean facilities.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the new sanctions could eventually starve North Korea of an additional $500m or more in annual revenue.

The United States has said that a previous round of sanctions agreed in August was aimed at cutting North Korea's $3bn in exports by a third.

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