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North Korea tensions mount over tough new sanctions at Manila meeting

13 August 2017

Wang made the statement here on the sidelines of a series of foreign ministers' meetings, in response to a question regarding the new UN Security Council resolution over North Korea's testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles in July, Xinhua news agency reported.

The UNSC on Saturday unanimously passed a US-drafted sanctions resolution against North Korea over its missile and nuclear military programs.

The new Security Council resolution, UNSCR 2371, tightens existing sanctions by imposing a full ban North Korea's export of coal, iron, seafood and other items to other countries; expands the list of individuals and entities subject to an asset freeze; and prohibits countries from increasing the number of North Korean laborers they employ - laborers whose earnings, the US says, boost revenues for the regime's illicit activities.

The latest resolution targets North Korea's primary exports - including coal, iron and seafood.

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Before Tillerson's trip, the USA had said he had no plans to interact with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

"The best signal that North Korea can give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches", said Tillerson, adding that "other means of communications" were open to Pyongyang.

The chairman's statement noted that the ministers urged North Korea to "immediately comply fully with its obligations" under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. He said the North could still carry out further missile tests or a sixth atomic bomb test in the coming months under its broader weapons development timetable. Tillerson has no plans to sit down with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the event.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang lambasted tough new sanctions adopted over the weekend by the U.N. Security Council as an act of terror. Trump had been stressing how China could play a large role in containing North Korea. The 28 members include 10 ASEAN member states.

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However both the United States and China are known to be actively preparing military options as communist North Korea threatens to abandon its hermit isolation and emerge as an unpredictable and uninvited member of the 9-member "Nuclear Club" of nations with arsenals of nuclear weapons.

Though Beijing repeated its call for the United States and North Korea to resume talks, the US said that was still premature, and rejected yet again a Chinese call for the freeze joint military exercises with South Korea in exchange for the North halting nuclear development. Kang is thanking the US for consulting with South Korea on the sanctions. Considering that the ARF is the only multilateral forum Pyongyang takes part in, Ri has received the most attention from the press, who were waiting for him at the airport and at his hotel, though Ri had little to say.

The meeting comes as the USA and Asian nations join together to try to step up Pyongyang's economic and diplomatic isolation.

Susan Thornton is the top USA diplomat for Asia.

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North Korea tensions mount over tough new sanctions at Manila meeting