North Korea promises "thousands-fold" revenge on US after UN sanctions over missile tests

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The UN Security Council has voted to strengthen sanctions on North Korea (Source: Getty)

The UN Security Council agreed to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea over its missile testing this weekend, but the move was met with strong words from Pyongyang on Monday morning.

Here's what you need to know...

Why has the UN imposed sanctions?

North Korea has performed two ballistic missile tests that further range in recent weeks. One landed in waters off Japan and the other off South Korea and the country says it now has the range to strike the US.

The country has carried out 14 tests this year alone, defying a UN ban, and what's known as intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests signal a ramping up the country's efforts.

The sanctions have been deemed the toughest yet from the UN which first imposed them in 2006.

What exactly are the sanctions?

There is now a full ban on North Korea exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood.

No country can now employ a worker from North Korea.

No joint ventures can be made with entities or individuals in North Korea, or investments made in existing joint ventures.

More individuals will be banned from travelling and have their assets frozen. 

But isn't North Korea cut off from the rest of the world?

While it is a famously reclusive country, North Korea does actually have trade ties with several countries, China being the most notable and largest trade partner.

According to MIT's Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), the country exported goods worth $2.83bn and imported $3.47bn in 2015.

$2.34bn of exports went to China alone (coal and coats mostly) while, India, Pakistan, Burkina Faso also a handful of Asian countries were export destinations for goods worth only several millions.

It's estimated the new ban will affect $1bn worth of exports.


(Source: The Observatory of Economic Complexity)

How has North Korea responded?

A statement from the country's state news agency promised "thousands-fold" revenge against the US which it accused of a "heinous" plot to "isolate and stifle" the country.

It also said it would take "righteous" action for infringing the sovereignty of Norrth Korea.

"There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean," it said.

How have other countries responded?

US President Donald Trump said: 

The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said:

"We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous.

"Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies."

Australia said: 

"The Australian government welcomes the unanimous adoption by the United Nations Security Council of new substantial measures against North Korea overnight.

"Australia will move quickly to implement the new resolution and today announces new measures to support the international action.

"The UN Security Council decision demonstrates clear international unity and resolve on the need to respond to continuing illegal and provocative actions by North Korea, which pose a major threat to international peace and security."

China has urged North Korea to make "smart" decisions and stop the tests and its foreign ministers held talks on Sunday. Even as an ally of North Korea, it voted in favour of the sanctions, as did Russia.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed in a call with Trump that it will apply maximum pressure on North Korea.

What now?

The world and its leaders are waiting to see whether the sanctions have the desired effect of halting North Korea's missile tests, despite North Korea's statement.

"The best signal that North Korea could give us that they’re prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches," said US secretary of state Rex Tillerson at a major meeting of leaders in Asia. "We've not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles."