Beijing's balancing act over North Korea

Colourful show of patriotism Members of the North Korean women’s union holding a dance party at the plaza of the Monument to Party Founding in Pyongyang to celebrate the country’s 69th founding anniversary. — AFP

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday unanimously adopted a new sanctions resolution against North Korea in NY, a response to the country's sixth nuclear test on September 3.

The UN Security Council is due to vote Monday on new restrictions on the rogue state, including an oil embargo, a ban on North Korean laborers and an asset freeze on leader Kim Jong Un.

But today Pyongyang's ambassador, Han Tae Song, told a conference in Geneva: 'My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution'.

The passage of the resolution comes the same day North Korea's Foreign Ministry used the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11 to warn the US that it would face "the greatest pain and suffering" if it went through with the sanctions.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the latest United Nations sanctions on North Korea were only a very small step and nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with the country's nuclear programme.

It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the council since 2006 over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

"The US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an "endless loop" on the Korean Peninsula, where "nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests", it said".

The standoff is also spilling over into the business relationship between South Korea and China.

China, the North's lone major ally, may be most critical though in deciding if oil sanctions go ahead because it controls an oil pipeline that industry sources say provides about 520,000 tonnes of crude a year to the North.

Along with settling for the compromise on oil, the USA unsuccessfully tried to get a travel ban and freezes on the assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Air Koryo, the North's flagship airline. "Unless we firmly apply pressure, North Korea will not change its direction".

"Third, we will continue the discussion we launched last week on additional European Union sanctions to complement action decided by the Security Council and put maximum pressure on North Korea".

He said North Korean bank representatives still operate in Russian Federation in "flagrant disregard" of United Nations resolutions that Moscow voted for. Branches near North Korea of at least three state banks have also banned North Koreans from opening accounts, according to the Japanese news agency.

The sanctions are in response to North Korea's ongoing nuclear weapon and missile programs and its latest nuclear test.

"We hope Security Council members on the basis of sufficient consultations reach consensus and project a united voice". Last week, the South Korean military said the North was preparing for another missile launch, possibly an ICBM test.

The firm said previously it had found a connection between Pyongyang and the WannaCry attack from May and June, which affected more than 300,000 computers worldwide. The new measures amounted to "the most stringent U.N. sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century", Johnson said.

Ms Bishop denied sanctions only stirred the pot when it came to the North Korean leadership.

"While the United Nations resolution on North Korea adopted in August, simplified some of the previously complex aspects of the sanctions regime, this one restores and expands those complexities", Andrea Berger, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told NK News.

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