PYONGYANG – North Korea has threatened the United States with the “greatest pain” it has ever suffered following new sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
Pyongyang’s envoy to the UN accused Washington of opting for “political, economic and military confrontation”.
US President Donald Trump said the move was nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with North Korea.
The UN sanctions are an attempt to starve the country of fuel and income for its weapons programmes.
The measures restrict oil imports and ban textile exports, and were approved after North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear test earlier this month.
Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, said he “categorically rejected” what he called an “illegal resolution”.
“The forthcoming measures by DPRK [the Democratic Republic of Korea] will make the US suffer the greatest pain it has ever experienced in its history,” he told a UN conference in Geneva.
“Instead of making [the] right choice with rational analysis… the Washington regime finally opted for political, economic and military confrontation, obsessed with the wild dream of reversing the DPRK’s development of nuclear force – which has already reached the completion phase.”
The resolution was only passed unanimously after North Korea’s allies Russia and China agreed to softer sanctions than those proposed by the US.
The initial text included a total ban on oil imports, a measure seen by some analysts as potentially destabilising for the regime.
The new sanctions agreed by the UN include:
- Limits on imports of crude oil and oil products. China, Pyongyang’s main economic ally, supplies most of North Korea’s crude oil
- A ban on exports of textiles, which is Pyongyang’s second-biggest export worth more than $700m (£530m) a year
- A ban on new visas for North Korean overseas workers, which the US estimates would eventually cut off $500m of tax revenue per year
A proposed asset freeze and a travel ban on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were dropped.
Reacting on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “We think it’s just another very small step, not a big deal.
“I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get a 15 to nothing vote. But those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen,” he added, without giving details.
The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, told the Security Council after the vote: “We don’t take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today. We are not looking for war.”
“The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return,” she added. “If North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure. The choice is theirs.”
A South Korean presidential office spokesman said on Tuesday: “North Korea needs to realise that a reckless challenge against international peace will only bring about even stronger sanctions against them.”
Monday’s resolution was the ninth one unanimously adopted by the UN since 2006. -BBC