North Korea threatens ‘thousands-fold’ revenge against the US for crippling economic sanctions

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North Korea tests the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.
source
KCNA via Reuters

North Korea has threatened to exact “thousands-fold” revenge on the US for a new round of economic sanctions likely to do serious damage to its economy.

In a statement published by state media, the reclusive state called the sanctions a “violent infringement of its sovereignty” that was caused by a “heinous US plot to isolate and stifle” it.

North Korea hit back after the UN imposed the sanctions, which were drafted by the US.

The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously agreed to ban North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood.

The dramatic tone of the response is typical of the North Korean regime, which often makes hyperbolic announcements that are not backed up by its capabilities.

As well as blocking exports, the new resolution bans countries from increasing the number of North Korean labourers working abroad and from launching new joint ventures or investments in North Korea.

Combined, the new sanctions could slash the state’s $3 billion (£2.3 billion) annual export revenue by a third.

The latest round of sanctions are meant to pressure North Korea into ending its nuclear programme.

The country claimed to have successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, a projectile that experts said could have reached Alaska.

Three weeks later it tested a missile experts said could reach Chicago or even New York City and Washington, DC, according to Vox.

North Korea ICBM

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The ICBM embarking on a test launch.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, called the penalty “the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.”

She said they would “cut deep, and in doing so, will give the North Korean leadership a taste of the deprivation they have chosen to inflict on the North Korean people.”

US President Donald Trump also praised the passing of the sanctions:

While the sanctions were still being drawn up, North Korea denounced the plans as “no more than last-ditch efforts by those who are terrified at the series of measures taken by the DPRK in rapid succession to develop a sophisticated nuclear force,” according to an English-language statement issued by the state-owned Korean Central News Agency.

It said the US sanctions had “only worked to redouble the indomitable spirit of our army and people closely rallied around the leader and their unfathomable strength of self-reliance and self-development and increase the DPRK’s defence capability.”

Kim Jong Un ICBM

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after the test launch of an ICBM.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Earlier this month, the US also barred its citizens from travelling to North Korea as of September 1, making it the only country US citizens cannot visit.

In response, the Korean government said it the country would “always leave our door wide open to any US citizen” who wished to visit the country “out of good will,” according to an AFP translation.

China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, told reporters on Sunday that the UN sanctions were “needed” but “not the final goal”.

China – North Korea’s largest trading partner – has long stressed the importance of talks to bring about a final resolution to the North Korean issue.

The Chinese state-owned People’s Daily newspaper also accused the US in a Monday editorial comment of “arrogance” in believing that sanctions alone could resolve the issue.