What Russia's really up to in North Korea

What Russia's really up to in North Korea

What Russia's really up to in North Korea

Pyongyang has staged a series of missile tests in recent months, culminating in an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared to bring much of the U.S. mainland into range - ramping up tensions and earning itself a seventh set of UN Security Council sanctions.

"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history", the ministry said.

The resolution represents a swift response to North Korea's sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion September 3, which it said was a hydrogen bomb, and to its escalating launches of increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles that it says can reach the United States.

Mnuchin told a conference broadcast on CNBC that China agreed to "historic" sanctions on North Korea on Monday in a UN Security Council vote. The last war on the Korean peninsula pitted the U.S. against China at a cost of millions of military and civilian lives. The U.S. has rejected proposals from both countries that it stop joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for a halt to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests. "The choice is theirs".

The United States had sought much stronger sanctions, including a complete oil embargo, an asset freeze on leader Kim Jong Un, and authorization to use military force if necessary to interdict ships suspected of smuggling banned items.

A United States official, familiar with the council negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity, said North Korea imports some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and four million barrels of crude oil. The resolution imposes a ban on North Korea's textiles exports, which brought in over $750 million past year and ranked second only to coal and other minerals.

Joint ventures will be banned and the names of senior North Korean officials and three entities were added to a United Nations sanctions blacklist that provides for an assets freeze and a global travel ban.

The North has claimed that last week's detonation, in an underground site, had proven it could build a hydrogen bomb, far more powerful than ordinary atomic weapons.

"The U.S.is trying to use the DPRK's legitimate self-defensive measures as an excuse to strangle and completely suffocate it", the statement said, using the acronym for North Korea's formal name.

China has made clear that it's against actions that could destabilize the Korean Peninsula.

The sanctions came just hours after Malcolm Turnbull discussed the issue of the rogue nation's nuclear tests with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

With backing from China and Russian Federation, the council adopted a US-drafted sanctions resolution just one month after banning exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Liu said relevant parties should resume negotiations "sooner rather than later".

China's United Nations ambassador urged the council to adopt the freeze-for-freeze proposal and urged the U.S.to pledge not to seek regime change or North Korea's collapse.

The cap on the import of petroleum products could have an impact but North Korea will still be able to import the same amount of crude oil that is has this year. "But setting a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea is meaningless".

"Oil is the life blood of North Korea's effort to build and fund a nuclear weapon", Haley said. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said at the weekend that North Korea's "reckless behavior", pursuing nuclear and missile programs, was a global threat and required a global response.

Despite tightening sanctions, trade in non-banned goods including food and other daily necessities continues between China and North Korea carried by hundreds of trucks crossing back and forth every day.

Haley said the objective of the increasing sanctions is to convince the Kim government to end its threatening nuclear missile development program in exchange for sanctions relief, economic aid and security guarantees.

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