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N.Korea defiant over UN sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed

Kim Jong-un nuclear celebration STR AFP Getty Images
Eleena Tovar | 13 Setiembre, 2017, 15:52

Monday's resolution added just Workers' Party of Korea Central Military Commission member Pak Yong Sik, the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea, the party's Organization and Guidance Department and its Propaganda and Agitation Department to the sanctions list.

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the prompt and unanimous United Nations Security Council Resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea.

The woman, Mi-young, escaped from China with the help of volunteers from Helping Hands Korea. "We are not looking for war", US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council after the vote.

While tourists are free to visit the secretive state as part of strictly controlled tour groups, they are told to never take photos of soldiers by their handlers. The spike coincided with new UN sanctions and a ban on Chinese government fuel shipments in May, according to the Post.

The official defended the U.S. mission from critics who say the sanctions were watered down, arguing an early draft from the U.S. was given to the press to place pressure on any who might seek to soften the sanctions.

The resolution fell short of measures sought by the Trump administration.

There was also activity at another location in the Mount Mantap site involving large vehicles and mining equipment that suggests "onsite work could now be changing focus to further prepare those other portals for future underground nuclear testing", 38 North said. When it comes to a nuclear-armed North Korea, the question is no longer "if" but "when".

The resolution is a water-down version of the original US proposal, but it does ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, as well as bans all textile exports and prohibits all countries from authorising new work permits for North Korean workers. China, Sri Lanka and India also imported some minerals in violation of sanctions.

The new sanctions ban 90 percent of North Korea's publicly-reported exports and cap the amount of oil the country is able to import, according to a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations. It then reportedly grew by nearly 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, despite the adoption of particularly harsh UN sanctions in 2016 (resolutions 2270 in March and 2321 in November).

Chinese officials have privately expressed fears that an oil embargo could risk causing massive instability in its neighbour.

North Korea detonated a huge H-bomb in an underground test facility in the north of the country last Sunday - and has vowed to launch an attack on the US Pacific island of Guam.

It's possible North Korea is either trying to run out the clock on the United States, betting on the unlikelihood of President Donald Trump resorting to the "fire and fury" response he threatened in August.

"It should be no surprise that cryptocurencies, as an emerging asset class, are becoming a target of interest by a regime that operates in many ways like a criminal enterprise", it said.