SEOUL/MANILA: North Korea responded robustly and in traditional fashion on Monday, saying the UN moves were unwarranted and unfair, and it was ready to teach the United States a “severe lesson” if it launched an attack.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea in a telephone call on Monday, while China expressed hope that North and South Korea could resume contact soon.
The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear program. The sanctions could slash North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.
The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood following Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the support of China and Russia for the latest sanctions sent a strong message to North Korea about what was expected of it.
“When the conditions are right, then we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so they feel secure and prosper economically,” Tillerson told reporters at a regional security forum in Manila.
“The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” said Tillerson, adding that “other means of communications” were open to Pyongyang.
North Korea said the UN sanctions infringed on its sovereignty, and vowed to take “righteous action”, according to the North’s official news agency.
In a statement to the Manila forum on Monday, Pyongyang said it would never place its nuclear program on the negotiating table as long as the United States maintained a hostile policy against the North.
In a transcript of a statement by Foreign Minister Rib Yong-ho, which was distributed to media in the Philippine capital, Pyongyang called the new U.N. sanctions “fabricated”, and warned there would be “strong follow-up measures”.