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North Korea threatens ‘pain and suffering’ ahead of UN sanctions vote

(CNN)The United States will pay a “due price” if harsh sanctions against North Korea are agreed at a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York Monday.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on state media that if the US “does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution'” it would respond in kind.
“The DPRK is ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means,” the statement said, referring to the country by its official name the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history.”
The UN Security Council is due to vote Monday on new restrictions on the rogue state, including an oil embargo, a ban on North Korean laborers and an asset freeze on leader Kim Jong Un.
Despite the vocal backing of the US, which proposed the sanctions, they could be vetoed by Russia and China which have expressed skepticism about the harsh measures.
The US and its allies have been calling for stern measures against North Korea following the country’s latest nuclear test, its largest yet, which took place just over a week ago.
The device, which Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb, was detonated on Sunday September 3 with a yield of over 100 kilotons, many times stronger than their previous nuclear tests.
Despite the impending vote on potentially painful economic sanctions, the atmosphere in Pyongyang over the weekend was one of celebration.
North Korea commemorated the 69th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, holding large patriotic displays of dancing and devotion to the Kim family.
Speaking to CNN reporters, North Koreans on the street appeared unconcerned about further UN sanctions and threats of military action from the United States.
“We know the Americans may come back with many more sanctions but in response we Koreans will continue shooting up many more missiles and conducting many more H-bomb tests,” North Korean shop assistant Han Myong Sim told CNN’s Will Ripley.
“We don’t worry very much,” said another shop worker, Ri Jong Ok. “As long as we have Kim Jong Un, we’ll survive.”
Among the celebrations was a gala event in honor of North Korea’s nuclear scientists, who successfully conducted the country’s sixth nuclear test.
North Korean leader Kim attended the glitzy event himself, where footage purportedly showing the explosion was played, accompanied by a full string orchestra.

Strictest sanctions yet

The draft resolution on North Korea sanctions, due to be voted on Monday, would be the strictest sanctions yet on the already heavily censured nation.
The main highlights of the new resolution would be a full ban on oil exports to North Korea, a full ban on purchasing North Korean textiles and a full ban on the country’s laborers generating earnings overseas.
Additionally, the US proposition calls for an immediate asset freeze on Kim Jong Un and the North Korean government for all financial assets held overseas.
The sanctions are aimed at curtailing North Korea’s cash flow, in the hope of putting a halt to their nuclear and missile programs.
It’s unclear if China will back the harsh measures against their difficult neighbor. On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the security council should “make further responses” but didn’t elaborate.
Russia could also potentially veto the security council resolution. President Vladimir Putin called for diplomatic talks on Wednesday, saying sanctions and pressure weren’t enough to resolve the situation.

Europe calls for North Korea solution

Over the weekend, leaders in France and Germany waded into the escalating crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday to discuss the possibility of new sanctions.

“(They discussed) a firm and united reaction towards North Korea’s repeated provocations as it is a threat to world peace and security,” the Elysee Palace told CNN.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with a German newspaper she would “immediately say yes” if Germany was asked to help end the crisis.
She said an agreement similar to the Iranian nuclear deal struck under the Obama administration could be the solution. Under the deal, Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
“I could imagine such a format being used to end the North Korea conflict. Europe and especially Germany should be prepared to play a very active part in that,” Merkel told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview published Sunday.

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