US tells China violating sanctions could result in dollar exclusion
(ShareCast News) - North Korea remained defiant on Wednesday, saying it would "redouble" its efforts to defend itself against the US after the UN Security Council agreed upon fresh sanctions against the isolated nation a day earlier.
The North's foreign ministry declared the resolutions to be an infringement upon the country's legitimate right to self-defence, claiming they were aimed at "completely suffocating its state and people through full-scale economic blockade."
"The DPRK will redouble the efforts to increase its strength to safeguard the country's sovereignty and right to existence and to preserve peace and security of the region by establishing the practical equilibrium with the US," the ministry said in a statement published by state run news agency KCNA.
The statement seemed to echo the sentiments of Pyongyang's ambassador to the UN, Han Tae Song, who said on Tuesday that his government was "ready to use a form of ultimate means," before telling the US to prepare itself for "the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history."
Rodong Sinmun, another Northern publication, accused South Korea of being the White House's "puppet," after it announced it had conducted its first live-fire drills with advanced air-launched cruise missiles from an F-15 fighter jet earlier in the day in an effort to strengthen its pre-emptive strike capability against the North.
Shortly after the test, Seoul reportedly reached an agreement with Washington that would see it remove the warhead weight limits on the South's ballistic missiles as it looks to develop a so-called "Frankenmissile" capable of destroying its neighbour's underground testing bunkers.
3 SEPTEMBER TESTS
According to analysts at 38 North, North Korea's most recent underground nuclear test could be twice as strong as originally thought, as new seismic data from the 3 September explosion suggested a blast of approximately 250 kilotons, the previously assumed limit for Kim Jong-un's Punggye-ri underground test facility.
Comparatively, the energy released by the US bomb dropped from the Enola Gay on to the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.
South Korean officials said they had found a small amount of radioactivity in air samples collected days after the last test, although it could not confirm what type of bomb it had been; however, the absence of tritium in the air discounted the presence of a thermonuclear or hydrogen weapon.
Reportedly, there was an increased level of activity at another location on the Mount Mantap site early on Wednesday as large vehicles and mining equipment were on the move, suggesting that "onsite work could now be changing focus to further prepare those other portals for future underground nuclear testing," according to 38 North.
CHINA WARNED OF CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLATING SANCTIONS
Less than 48 hours after China agreed to vote alongside the United States to impose new sanctions against its trading partner and ally, the US warned Beijing it would look to cut off its access to both the US financial system and "international dollar system" if it violated the sanctions.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that China agreeing to the sanctions on 11 September was a "historic" moment.
"I think we have absolutely moved the needle on China. I think what they agreed to yesterday was historic. I'd also say I put sanctions on a major Chinese bank. That's the first time that's ever been done. And if China doesn't follow these sanctions, we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system. And that's quite meaningful," said Mr Mnuchin.
This would not be the first time the US blocked a foreign nation from access to the dollar system as it did so with Russia in 2014 and 2015, locking several banks from its former Cold War enemy out of the SWIFT system.
The US had previously been reluctant to impose any economic sanctions on China over concerns of potential retaliatory matters from Beijing and the potentially catastrophic effect it could have on both the US, which runs a $350bn trade deficit with China, and the global economy.