Andrew Hammond: N.Korea could be Trump's first major foreign crisis

Cheryl Sanders
August 12, 2017

North Korea, meanwhile, threatened a "thousands-fold" act of revenge against the U.S. on Monday for the United Nations sanctions passed Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Wang said China is prepared to go against its own economic interests "for the sake of supporting worldwide system of nuclear non-proliferation and to maintain peace and stability in the region".

China, North Korea's lone major ally, has repeatedly said it is committed to enforcing increasingly tough United Nations resolutions on North Korea, though it has also said what it terms "normal" trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected. The new sanctions, banning major North Korean exports such as coal and iron, are created to starve the regime of the money to pay for it -money that is also used to enrich the powerful elites and generals who, in turn, don't challenge Kim Jong Un's near total power. Last month, Trump asserted that North Korea "is behaving in a very risky manner, and something will have to be done about it.and probably dealt with rapidly".

"What this is going to do is send a very strong message and a united message", U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told NBC's "Today" programme in an interview on Tuesday, adding that Washington would be watching to see the sanctions are enforced.

Over the last few years, North Korea has tested several ballistic missiles with varying degrees of success. "We must be tough & decisive!", Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Joel Wit, director of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, said he did not think North Korea would agree to a suspension of missile tests unilaterally as a precondition to talks without, for example, a suspension of large-scale military exercises held regularly by the United States and South Korea, which it has denounced as a prelude for invasion. In a separate statement to reporters in Manila, North Korea called President Donald Trump's "America First" policy unsafe and said its nuclear program was necessary to avoid a US invasion similar to those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He also said any dialogue would deal with how North Korea can "feel secure and prosper economically".

Washington is leaving it to China to restate world powers' opposition to new nuclear bomb tests while the United States urges a halt in missile launches "which obviously is a much lower rhetorical barrier to resuming talks", the official said.

Ri met his counterparts from China, Russia, South Korea and the Philippines, the host country of the forum, but failed to make broader diplomatic overtures as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged all the countries to raise a "chorus of condemnation" against North Korea before taking part in the meeting.

Joint discussions between six nations - China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the USA - collapsed in 2009. The concern is that this de-emphasises other topics in the regional dialogue with the United States such as South China Sea tensions. More recently, Beijing has repeatedly defended Pyongyang against pressures from Washington, protecting the rogue nation nearly as if it were a wayward younger brother.

North Korea said the sanctions infringed its sovereignty and it was ready to give Washington a "severe lesson" with its strategic nuclear force in response to any US military action.

North Korea says its ICBMs are a legitimate means of defence.

In this image made from video released by KRT on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, North Korea launches four missiles in an undisclosed location North Korea.

Earlier on Monday, Pyongyang vowed it would deliver "thousands-fold" revenge against the U.S. over the fresh sanctions.

The infographic below shows the maximum range of each of the ballistic missiles North Korea has tested over the last few years. The resolution includes a complete ban on the North's exports of coal, a major source of money needed to advance its weapons program.

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