North Korea has once again threatened repercussions against U.S. if it attempts to impose more United Nations-wide sanctions on Pyongyang.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution imposing new restrictions on North Korea on Monday afternoon, in response to Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date on September 3.
A statement from North Korea’s foreign ministry published on the state-controlled KCNA news agency threatened the U.S. should the sanctions be approved.
“In case the U.S. eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful "resolution" on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the U.S. pays due price,” the statement read, using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history,” it read, without elaborating on what those measure may be.
Pyongyang claims it has tested a hydrogen bomb that can be fitted on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Even since the test launches of the Hwasong-14 ICBM, whose warhead payload, accuracy and ability to re-enter the atmosphere remain unverified, North Korea has stepped up its threats to the U.S. and its allies.
“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the U.S. gangsters by taking series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged. The U.S. should be fully aware that as long as it persists with intense political, economic and military confrontation with the DPRK in defiance of its repeated stern warning, the former will never be able to avoid its permanent extinction," it said.
But for all of Pyongyang’s fury at the prospect of new sanctions, the U.S.-backed draft has been watered down significantly to meet Chinese and Russian demands. The sanctions would not blacklist North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and only impose a travel ban and asset freeze on four other officials, according to Reuters.
The resolution also dropped a proposed oil embargo—which trade experts believe would have the largest impact on the country’s economy but was opposed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin—focusing instead on banning condensates and natural gas liquids, imposing a cap of two million barrels a year on refined petroleum products, and cap crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels.
The draft resolution also bans North Korea’s textile exports, the country’s second-largest export sector after coal and other minerals which were targeted in a previous round of sanctions in August.
For the sanctions to be approved, the resolution needs to be approved by at least nine of the 15 Security Council members, with none of the five permanent members (the U.S, the U.K., France, Russia and China) using their vetos. The other ten seats on the Security Council are occupied on a rotating base, with countries elected for a two-year terms. These are currently occupied by Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.