Asia Pacific

North Korea hints at fresh military provocation if U.S. imposes new sanctions

by Jesse Johnson

Staff Writer

North Korea said Sunday that its latest long-range missile test was a “stern warning” to the U.S. over Washington’s bolstered sanctions push and said it would respond with a “resolute act of justice” if provoked militarily.

The nuclear-armed North conducted its second successful test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday, a launch that experts said highlighted the country’s growing ability to strike targets across much of the U.S. mainland.

“In case the U.S. fails to come to its own senses and continues to resort to military adventure and ‘tough sanctions,’ the DPRK will respond with its resolute act of justice ,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying in a dispatch Sunday.

DPRK is the acronym for the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Friday’s launch of an ICBM known as the Hwasong-14 was “meant to send a stern warning to the U.S. making senseless remarks, being lost to reason in the frantic sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK,” the report said.

U.S. President Donald Trump blasted the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over its “latest reckless and dangerous action,” saying after Friday’s launch that the test would further isolate the country.

The top U.S. diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also lambasted the test as “a blatant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions” and urged all nations to “take a strong public stance against North Korea.”

Washington, together with Tokyo, have been among the leading proponents of hitting Pyongyang with a fresh round of ramped-up sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.

In total, the North has been slapped with six sets of U.N. sanctions since it first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. Two resolutions adopted last year had significantly tightened that sanctions regime.

Those moves have stoked anger in the North, which claims that its nuclear weapons push is a purely defensive move.

U.S. threats of military action and “extreme sanctions on the DPRK only emboldens the latter and provides further justification for its access to nukes… which cannot be discarded or bartered for anything,” the KCNA report said.

Coronavirus banner