August 7, 2017 7:47 am
Updated: August 7, 2017 7:01 pm

North Korea ready to teach U.S. a ‘severe lesson’ if it takes military action

A defiant North Korea is vowing retaliation over a new round of stiff sanctions, approved by the United Nations over the weekend. The U.S. wants Kim Jong-un to curb his nation's nuclear program, but he says that's not up for negotiation.

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North Korea is ready to give the United States a “severe lesson” with its strategic nuclear force if it takes military action against it, and will not put its nuclear program or its missiles on the negotiating table, it said in a statement to a regional meeting on Monday.

READ MORE: China calls on North Korea to halt missile tests, buoys UN sanctions

In a transcript of a statement by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, which was distributed to media in Manila, Pyongyang called new U.N. sanctions “fabricated” and warned there would be “strong follow-up measures” and acts of justice. It said the resolution showed the United Nations had abused its authority.


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It said its intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July proved that the entire United States was in its firing range, and those missiles were a legitimate means of self-defense.

READ MORE: UN imposes new sanctions on North Korea

It was not immediately clear whether the statement was read to the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed to apply maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea in a telephone call on Monday, while China expressed hope that North and South Korea could resume contact soon.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear program. The sanctions could slash North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood following Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the support of China and Russia for the latest sanctions sent a strong message to North Korea about what was expected of it.

“When the conditions are right, then we can sit and have a dialog around the future of North Korea so they feel secure and prosper economically,” Tillerson told reporters in Manila.

“The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” said Tillerson, adding that “other means of communications” were open to Pyongyang.

Japan’s foreign minister said “heated discussions” took place about North Korea’s missile tests and South China Sea disputes at the Manila security forum, and most countries believed U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang should be fully implemented.

Taro Kono told reporters there was broad support among the 27 foreign ministers at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila for pressure to be exerted on North Korea and for a new U.N. Security Council resolution to be fully implemented.

Among those attending the event were North and South Korea, Russia, China, Japan and Australia.

Kono also said Japan supported the United States in its activities in the South China Sea to ensure freedom of navigation, and in a veiled reference to China, opposed “any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force.”

READ MORE: Trump national security adviser: all options on the table in dealing with North Korea

North Korea has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills. North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

During an hour-long phone call, Moon and Trump said they would continue cooperating to rein in North Korea, particularly ahead of a regular joint military drill set for late August, South Korean presidential office spokesman Park Su-hyun told a media briefing.

READ MORE: U.S. bans Americans from travelling to North Korea, Canada leaves options open

Moon was also cited as saying there was a need to show North Korea the door to dialog is still open, should Pyongyang give up its nuclear program.

In a separate statement, the White House said the two leaders “affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat” to most countries around the world.

In a Twitter post, Trump said he was “very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote” on the sanctions.

© 2017 Reuters

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