North Korea condemned the latest round of U.N. sanctions Monday, promising revenge against those who seek to constrain the country’s growing military might.
The U.N. Security Council passed a U.S.-drafted resolution Saturday approving the “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime” and “the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation,” according to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. North Korea, which has developed an intercontinental ballistic missile some expert observers assess is capable of delivering a nuclear payload to cities across America, is livid and threatening to retaliate.
North Korea will “make the U.S. pay dearly for all the heinous crime it commits against the state and people of this country,” North Korean state-media wrote Monday. It also asserted that the U.N. resolution represents a “violent violation of our sovereignty.”
The Korean Central News Agency warned that the U.S. will “pay the price for its crime … thousands of times” and threatened to teach the U.S. a “decisive act of justice.”
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2371 bans all North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood, sets limits on the number of North Korean workers abroad, restricts joint-venture investments, and freezes assets and restricts shipping, potentially reducing North Korea’s $3 billion export revenue by roughly one-third. The new U.N. resolution also calls for greater scrutiny of North Korea’s legitimate diplomatic activities, which have played a role in North Korea’s illicit engagements.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be under pressure to prove the punitive actions of the international community won’t shake his commitment to the development of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to distant targets. As sanctions take time to impact their intended targets, North Korea’s testing of ballistic missile technology, and possibly nuclear weapons, is likely to continue largely unchanged.
North Korea is close to developing a viable nuclear deterrent against the U.S. and other powers, which its leadership considers essential for the survival of the regime. There are few options that will drive the North Korean leaders to lay down their arms.
“The North Korean program remains an unconstrained one with neither sanctions nor an operational diplomatic agreement holding it back,” John Park, the director of the Korea Working Group at Harvard Kennedy School, told Bloomberg News.
With a newfound ability to turn rhetoric into reality, the U.S. and its international partners can expect additional provocations from the extremely hostile North Korean regime. North Korea still has other weapons in the works, as the canisters for a potential solid-fueled ICBM rolled out during a military parade in April demonstrated. There is a possibility that the threat of sanctions may drive the North to significantly accelerate its weapons development program.
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