Trump praises new United Nations sanctions on North Korea

The ASEAN delegates

Bolstered by a new United Nations resolution, the foreign ministers of South Korea and the U.S. on Sunday vowed to ensure a tighter enforcement of the sanctions and further step up pressure to dissuade North Korea from its nuclear and missile development.

The administration holds in reserve a list of Chinese banks and other firms the Treasury Department has been preparing to sanction for their alleged ties to North Korea's military programs."Right now, our focus is on carrying out the existing sanctions and ensuring compliance with the new U.N. Security Council resolution", a senior White House official told Reuters on Tuesday, adding there was "nothing imminent to announce" on secondary sanctions.

In a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's government said the sanctions were a "violent infringement of its sovereignty" that was caused by a "heinous US plot to isolate and stifle" the country.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson takes his pressure campaign against North Korea to Asian leaders on Sunday as the USA intensifies its efforts to isolate Pyongyang.

The goal is to halt North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the United States and elsewhere, a mission given added urgency after two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July. But he also said it was not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks. "With his approval ratings falling even with his base, Trump is trapped between the realities of dealing with China and his campaign promises to get tough on trade".

"The best signal that North Korea could send that they're prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches", Tillerson said. The new measures were a response to five nuclear tests and four long-range missile launches.

In remarks to reporters Monday morning, Tillerson said the best signal North Korea could give that it was prepared for negotiations with the USA would be to halt its missile launches.

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Calling the two countries "close neighbors", Wang told Ri to look at the latest UNSC resolution "in a coolheaded manner" and warned against additional missile provocations, Chinese state media reported. 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.

Also on Saturday, ASEAN foreign ministers gathered in Manila issued a statement expressing grave concern over rising tensions on the Korean peninsula stemming from long-range missile tests by North Korea that "seriously threaten" global peace and security.

- Conor Finnegan (@cjf39) August 6, 2017Secretary Tillerson meets with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Kang Kyung-wha, in Manila. It also bars new joint ventures with North Korea.

But it remains cautious of triggering a North Korean collapse, fearful of fomenting chaos along its border or advancing any scenario that would lead to a reunified and USA -allied Korea on its doorstep.

Countries worldwide are responding, cutting back on North Korean guest worker programs, flights and diplomatic missions, USA officials say.

Having failed to persuade its Southeast Asian allies not to invite Pyongyang to the forum, U.S. officials also want to use the platform to remind Kim Jong-Un's regime of its diplomatic isolation. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills. US officials rejected Beijing's call for the North to halt its nuclear program in exchange for the United States and South Korea suspending joint military exercises, which Pyongyang considers a prelude to an invasion and regime change. While the USA position is that North Korea must ultimately give up its nukes, the North insists it must keep them. These block North Korean sales of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood.

Behind the scenes, his government appears more willing to play out the diplomatic game than his "rhetorical grenade", as the "Washington Post" put it, suggests.

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