Stung North Korea Threatens Retaliation Against United States Over Sanctions – New York Times
In its first major response to the sanctions drafted by the United States and adopted on Saturday, North Korea said it would never relinquish its missile and nuclear arsenals and called the penalties a panicky American-led response to its growing military might.
The North Korean response, in statements from its official news agency, foreign minister and United Nations mission, suggested that the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, was doubling down on his goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile that could hit the continental United States.
The warnings began with a statement from North Korea’s official news agency, threatening to make the United States “pay the price for its crime thousands of times,” referring to the new sanctions.
“There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean,” the news agency said.
North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, echoed the hostility later in a statement at an annual meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila that also was attended by Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson.
Mr. Ri described North Korea’s missiles and nuclear weapons as defensive measures against what he called the threat of annihilation by the United States.
“Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the U.S. against the DPRK are fundamentally eliminated,” Mr. Ri said, using the initials for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.
In order to thwart a United States invasion, Mr. Ri said, “we need to possess intercontinental attack capabilities to strike the heart of the U.S.”
He also said North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month showed that “the entire U.S. mainland is in our firing range.”
The country’s United Nations mission also issued a lengthy statement denouncing the sanctions, which were meant to dissuade North Korea from pressing ahead with its missile and nuclear weapons programs.
The statement called the sanctions, which include prohibitions on North Korean exports of coal, iron and seafood, “a flagrant infringement upon its sovereignty.”
The response came two days after the Security Council approved the measures in a 15-0 vote that basically left Mr. Kim bereft of any powerful supporter on the issue, including China, which helped the United States draft the new penalties.
If enforced, the measures could lop an estimated $1 billion annually off North Korea’s meager export revenue of $3 billion.
The resolution was a direct response to North Korea’s successful tests last month of the two intercontinental ballistic missiles, which for the first time demonstrated an ability to reach the United States mainland.
The sanctions are the toughest of the seven Security Council resolutions adopted since 2006 aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear militarization.
North Korea’s United Nations mission said the sanctions revealed that the United States and its allies, instead of accepting North Korea and learning to coexist with it, had become “more frenzied and desperate” over the country’s growing military strength.
“Watching them go frantic only redoubles the DPRK’s pride in the country’s great might and reaffirms its faith that the path it had chosen is the only way to survive and prosper,” the mission’s statement said.
The statement also described the sanctions as “more heinous than ever, placing a total ban even on normal trade activities and economic exchange,” and blamed the United States directly, saying the measures showed “its evil intention to obliterate the ideology and system of the DPRK and exterminate its people.”
Ridiculing the Security Council’s assertion that North Korea is a threat to international security, the statement called this a “gangster-like logic indicating that the rest of the world should either become U.S. colonies serving its interests or fall victim to its aggression.”
Although Mr. Ri and Mr. Tillerson were at the same conference, they did not meet directly. But Mr. Tillerson told a news conference in Manila on Monday that the United States was leaving the door open for possible negotiations with North Korea.
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