North Korea warned the U.S. on Monday that it would pay a “due price” for spearheading efforts for fresh sanctions on the regime following its latest nuclear test.
However, diplomats say the UN Security Council will vote on the issue later in the day.
But a U.S.-drafted resolution originally calling for an oil embargo on the North, a halt to its key exports of textiles and subjecting leader Kim Jong Un to a financial and travel ban appears to have been watered down to placate Russia and China, which both have veto powers, diplomats said.
It no longer proposes blacklisting Kim and relaxes sanctions earlier proposed on oil and gas, a draft reviewed by Reuters shows. It still proposes a ban on textile exports.
North Korea was condemned globally for conducting its sixth nuclear test on September 3, which it said was of an advanced hydrogen bomb.
NATO Head, Jens Stoltenberg, said at the weekend that North Korea’s “reckless behaviour”, pursuing nuclear and missile programmes, was a global threat and required a global response.
The tensions have weighed on global markets, but on Monday there was some relief among investors that North Korea did not conduct a further missile test this weekend when it celebrated its founding anniversary.
Still, North Korea denounced efforts by Washington to impose new UN-backed sanctions against the country.
The North’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the U.S. was “going frantic’’ to manipulate the Security Council over Pyongyang’s nuclear test, which it said was part of “legitimate self-defensive measures.’’
“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 spokesman said in a statement.
DPRK stands for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the U.S. gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged,” the unnamed spokesman said.
“The DPRK has developed and perfected the super-powerful thermo-nuclear weapon as a means to deter the ever-increasing hostile moves and nuclear threat of the U.S. and defuse the danger of nuclear war looming over the Korean peninsula and the region.’’
South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, said last week during a visit to Russia that shutting off North Korea’s supply of oil was inevitable this time to bring Pyongyang to talks and he called for Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s support.
Putin has remained firm, however, that such sanctions on oil would have negative humanitarian effects on North Koreans.
China, the North’s lone major ally, may be most critical though in deciding if oil sanctions go ahead because it controls an oil pipeline that industry sources say provides about 520,000 tonnes of crude a year to the North.
A Security Council resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by permanent members the U.S., Britain, France, Russia or China to pass.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, stressed the need for consensus and maintaining peace.
“I have said before that China agrees that the UN Security Council should make a further response and necessary actions with respect to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test,” he said.
“We hope Security Council members on the basis of sufficient consultations reach consensus and project a united voice.
“The response and actions the Security Council makes should be conducive to the denuclearisation of the peninsula, conducive to safeguarding the peace and stability of the peninsula, and conducive to push forward the use of peaceful and political means to resolve the peninsula nuclear issue.”