North Korea tensions mount over tough new sanctions at Manila meeting

Rex Tillerson expected to press Asian Countries on North Korean threat

In July, North Korea conducted two tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in violation of previous UNSC resolutions, with the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stating that the second test, carried out on July 28, was successful. The sanctions could further choke North Korea's struggling economy by slashing its $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

At a meeting in Washington in May, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pressed his ASEAN counterparts to fully implement and adhere to United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

During talks on Monday with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, the three countries agreed to work together to deter a potential North Korean provocation, which may coincide with a South Korea-US joint military drill later this month, and to formulate a "joint roadmap" for the denuclearization of the peninsula, Kang said.

"Should the USA pounce on the DPRK with military force at last, the DPRK is ready to teach the U.S. a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force it has so far shown in detail", the North Korean foreign minister added.

In a transcript of a statement by Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, which was distributed to media in Manila, Pyongyang called new United Nations sanctions "fabricated" and warned there would be "strong follow-up measures" and acts of justice.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2371, tightening sanctions against North Korea. It also prohibits countries from increasing the numbers of North Korean labourers now working overseas, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures. The resolution also bans countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers, another source of foreign currency for the North, and prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korean companies. He says the only way that would change is if another country joined in an American action against North Korea. Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy said sanctions that can force a change from North Korea would include a ban on China's annual, mostly free shipment of 500,000 tons of crude oil to North Korea and the deporting by United Nations member states of the tens of thousands of North Korean workers now dispatched overseas.

"It's going to hit hard but it's going to make a strong point to North Korea that all this ICBM and this nuclear irresponsibility has to stop".

South Korea gains support from participating countries for President Moon's Berlin visionThe 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Manila came to a close on August 8.

"And we hope, again, that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to the conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically". Foreign Minister Wang Yi unleashed harsh words on sensitive topics against South and North Korea, the USA, and Japan.

Susan Thornton is the top US diplomat for Asia.

But Wang, the Chinese envoy, cast Ri's presence in Manila as a positive, enabling him to "hear the voices from other sides".

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