DPRK pushes back against UN missile test sanctions

World Today

FILE – In this July 28, 2017, file photo distributed by the North Korean government on Saturday, July 29, 2017, shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea said Monday, Aug. 7, it will launch “thousands-fold” revenge against the United States over the adoption of tough U.N. sanctions imposed after its intercontinental ballistic launches. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is pushing back against new sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

The measures hit the DPRK’s coal, iron and seafood trade, potentially cutting off $1 billion worth of the country’s exports.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

Pyongyang is pledging to take “righteous action” in response to new United Nations sanctions the DPRK claims infringe on its sovereignty.

“There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean,” reads a government statement, according to the DPRK’s official news agency.

In just the last month, Pyongyang conducted two long-range missile tests, drawing criticism from both critics and allies. On the issue of using those missiles and nuclear weapons, DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said his country will only use nuclear weapons against the United States.

The minister was scheduled to hold a news conference in Manila on the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers conference, but instead his spokesperson handed a copy of his speech to the media.

In the speech, he blamed the Korean peninsula crisis on United States, and said Pyongyang is ready to teach the U.S. a lesson with the DPRK’s “nuclear strategic force.”

“Is our nuclear possession a threat to the world or is it just a threat to the United States?” the foreign minister asked. “We want to make it clear that the worsening situation on the Korean peninsula, as well as the nuclear issues, were caused by the United States.”

A DPRK spokesperson later said that his country will never negotiate over its nuclear and ballistic missiles program.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his DPRK counterpart on Sunday. Wang says he urged him to abide by the new UN sanctions, but at the same time he asked Seoul and Washington to not take any provocative actions.

The foreign minister is proposing a return to talks based on a freeze-freeze model: the DPRK will suspend its missile and nuclear activities in exchange for Seoul and Washington dropping their military drills.

“The international community has told North Korea to abandon its development of nuclear warheads and to maintain the international proliferation regime. This is a security issue,” Wang said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that if Pyongyang stopped testing missiles for an extended period of time, Washington might agree to talks, but he has declined to define what length of time would trigger negotiations.

For now, he’s challenging all parties who signed onto the sanctions to focus on implementation.

“I think the world is also expressing a view to China and Russia that we do have an expectation that you will do everything you possible can to help North Korea understand the reality of the future as well and bring them to the negotiating table,” Tillerson said.

The Pentagon told reporters, on Monday, that it is actively considering an increase in the size of ballistic missiles Seoul can use to defend itself against Pyongyang.

In a phone call over the weekend, Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in asked Washington to revise missile guidelines to allow a doubling in the size of missile payloads.

Christopher D. Yung discusses the latest rounds of UN sanctions against the DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously approved economic sanctions targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but will this consensus provide results and get the DPRK to stop missile and nuclear tests? Christopher D. Yung, director of East Asian Studies at Marine Corps University, spoke to CGTN’s Asieh Namdar about the issue and what both the DPRK and the global community are hoping to accomplish.