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North Korea denounces latest UN sanctions

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By Alasdair Sandford
North Korea denounces latest UN sanctions

North Korea has denounced the latest UN sanctions imposed on the isolated state, vowing to take action in response to the international pressure amid escalating regional tension.

The North’s official news agency KCNA said the latest measures – voted unanimously by the United Nations on Saturday – infringed on its sovereignty, adding that Pyongyang would take “righteous action”.

The statement repeated the North’s previous stance that it would never place its nuclear programme on the negotiating table as long as the United States maintained a hostile policy towards it.

“There is no bigger mistake than the United States believing that its land is safe across the ocean,” the agency said.

Earlier South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in spoke by phone with US President Donald Trump, the two leaders agreeing to continue putting pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear programme.

There was unanimous Security Council support on Saturday for the new sanctions targeting North Korean exports. They could cost Pyongyang a billion dollars a year.

At a regional forum in the Philippines, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met his Chinese counterpart, saying that the support of China and Russia for the sanctions sent a strong message – and the best signal North Korea could give would be to halt its missile launches.

“We’re not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks. This is really about the spirit of these talks, and they (North Korea) can demonstrate that they’re ready to sit with a spirit of finding a way forward in these talks by no longer conducting these missile tests. So this is not a ‘give me 30 days and we’re ready to talk’: it’s not quite that simple,” Tillerson said.

The Chinese foreign minister is said to have warned his North Korean counterpart that the situation was close to “crisis point” over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

But despite Pyongyang’s presence at the Manila summit, there has been no sign of an opening towards dialogue.

Reports say the foreign ministers from North and South Korea held a brief and rare face-to-face meeting at a regional forum in the Philippines. However the North’s minister is said to have dismissed the request from the South, although this version was disputed by China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday called on all sides to exercise restraint and make positive efforts to resolve the North Korean issue. The ministry added in a statement that Beijing had always supported a resolution via talks.