USA turns screws on North Korea after United Nations move

North Korea

On January 2 2017 Kim Jong-Un in his New Year's Day address to the nation - and the world - announced that his country was in the "last stage" of preparations to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. This decision was in response to the country's most recent ballistic missile launch.

Multilateral diplomatic efforts like the scuttled six-party talks were cited as the best preventative measure against North Korea's nuclear development, with 35.3 percent of US respondents selecting this option.

"We will further consolidate our self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the USA nuclear threats, blackmail and hostile moves by establishing the practical balance of force with the USA", it added.

South Korea laid the claim when it pulled out of the joint venture in response to the North's launch of a long-range missile previous year.

According to CNBC, some industry sources are doubtful about the data and suggest that China may still be supplying about 520,000 tonnes, or 3.8 million barrels, of crude oil a year to North Korea via an ageing pipeline.

It also followed a new round of tough, US -backed sanctions passed Friday by the United Nations Security Council that Mnuchin said in a statement were "strong" and that were "further shutting down [North Korea's] ability to raise illicit funds".

Both men have appeared multiple times in photos of Kim Jong Un watching missile tests, according to North Korea Leadership Watch and reporting by Reuters.

Pyongyang is under multiple United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests and is prohibited from carrying out any launch using ballistic missile technology including satellites.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions are part of the United States' "maximum pressure campaign" to isolate North Korea and "achieve a fully denuclearized Korean Peninsula".

A survey of Japanese citizens and Americans across the two countries show over 40 percent of respondents oppose USA military action on North Korea.

North Korea's ruling party also reportedly underwent a large-scale personnel reshuffle earlier this year in a bid to strengthen the regime's sovereignty.

The North Korean Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Monday saying that "peaceful space development is a legitimate right of a sovereign state".

A report from the state news agency KCNA, headlined "No Force Can Prevail over Independence and Justice" and reported by CNN, told readers: "Do not expect any change in its policy".

"Analysis showed that this indicates that the regime has been stably controlled and (Kim) has strengthened internal solidarity, reducing the need for public activities", Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at Seoul's Unification Ministry, said at a regular briefing Friday, referring to such reports.

Its latest missile is claimed to be capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

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