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North Korea warns of forceful response if U.S. tightens sanctions monitoring –



North Korea warned the United States against employing new mechanisms for sanctions monitoring on Thursday, amid growing ties between Moscow and Pyongyang in the wake of a visit by leader Kim Jong Un to Russia in September. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, April 25 (UPI) — North Korea on Thursday condemned new efforts to monitor sanctions enforcement against it and warned the United States of an “upward readjustment of force” in response.

“If the U.S. introduces a new version of sanctions against the DPRK, the latter will take a new opportunity necessary for its upward readjustment of force, which the U.S. is most afraid of,” Kim Un Chol, vice minister for U.S. Affairs, said in a statement.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

Kim’s remarks came in response to a visit to South Korea last week by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who told reporters that Washington was working with its allies on options to monitor international sanctions against North Korea over its missile and nuclear programs.

“Whenever the U.S. cooked up a new sanctions resolution in the U.N. arena, it triggered a more powerful and more developed nuclear test of the DPRK,” Kim said in the statement carried by government-run Korean Central News Agency.

“The pain the U.S. has imposed upon the DPRK people has turned into a strong rage against the U.S., the wrath that is redoubling the DPRK’s determination and will to bolster up the most powerful strength no one can match,” he added.

Pyongyang has maintained a steady stream of weapons tests and heated rhetoric that has kept tensions high on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this week, the North launched several short-range ballistic missiles in what it described as a nuclear counterattack drill.

On Wednesday, Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, denounced U.S.-South Korea joint military drills as “the reason why tensions are soaring in the region like a kindled detonating fuse.”

“We will continue to build up our overwhelming and most powerful military muscle to defend our sovereignty and security and regional peace,” she said in a statement carried by KCNA. “No one can break our determination.”

Washington and Seoul have accused Russia of helping North Korea evade sanctions, through reported oil shipments as well as its veto of a resolution last month to extend the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions-monitoring Panel of Experts.

In exchange, Pyongyang is widely believed to be sending arms and munitions to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

U.S. officials have recently expressed concern about growing military ties between North Korea and Iran, which also supports the Russian invasion. On Wednesday, KCNA reported that a delegation led by External Economic Relations Minister Yun Jong Ho flew to Tehran for a rare official visit.

“We are concerned about the Iranians providing weapons to the Russians and the Russians also supporting efforts to help the DPRK expand their own research into developing weapons,” Thomas-Greenfield said at a press conference in Seoul last week. “And certainly that would be the case with Iran as well.”

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