North Korea Refuses To Stop Nuclear Weapon Development

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho struck a defiant tone Monday at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Asia's largest security forum, saying the latest round of UN sanctions would not stop it from developing its nuclear arsenal.
"We will under no circumstances put the nukes and ballistic rockets on [the] negotiating table," Pyongyang's top diplomat told ASEAN delegates, among them US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. "Neither shall we flinch even an inch from the road to bolstering up the nuclear forces chosen by ourselves unless the hostile policy and nuclear threat of the US against North Korea is fundamentally eliminated."

Despite the strong posturing, North Korea has found itself increasingly isolated since it conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB) tests last month. The second test in particular raised fear that Pyongyang could be on the cusp of developing missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. China, the North's principal ally and economic lifeline, agreed to fully implement the latest round of sanctions, which will slash around $1 billion (850 million euros), or roughly one-third, of the reclusive state's export revenue.

The sanctions also bar countries from employing North Korean laborers commissioned to work abroad. Furthermore, they ban any new joint business ventures with the regime, as well as fresh investment into such existing ventures. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in the Philippine capital that "China will for sure implement that new resolution 100 percent, fully and strictly." The US-drafted sanctions, designed to deprive Kim Jong Un's regime of funds for its weapons program, were approved unanimously Saturday by the UN Security Council.


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