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North Korea warns of “pain and suffering” if U.N. votes for tougher sanctions

North Korea celebrated its government’s 69th anniversary Saturday. The country was expected to mark the occasion by antagonizing the West once again and testing another intercontinental ballistic missile — possibly directed toward the U.S. territory of Guam. But instead, Pyongyang had a party.

The gala event was held to honor the scientists who helped carry out North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test earlier this month. However, Pyongyang returned to its default position Monday, threatening the U.S. if it followed through on imposing harsher sanctions on the Hermit Kingdom.


“The DPRK is ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means,” a statement by North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said. ‘The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it has ever gone through in its entire history.”

The South Korean intelligence agencies warned last week that they were expecting an ICBM test to take place on the anniversary, as North Korea continues its efforts to build a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S.

The U.N. will vote on a U.S.-drafted resolution Monday, seeking further sanctions to be imposed on Pyongyang. In the wake of the Sept. 3 nuclear test, the U.S. has been seeking much stronger sanctions against Pyongyang, including an oil embargo, bans on textile exports, a freezing of Kim Jong Un’s assets as well as imposing a travel ban.

However, a new draft of the resolution, seen by Reuters, has been watered down significantly in a bid to placate Russia and China, who were set to veto the original proposal. Despite work in the background by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, it is unclear if the new, weaker sanctions will pass the U.N. Security Council when they vote later on Monday.

There are some signs that China may be preparing to take harsher measures against Pyongyang. A report over the weekend in the Tokyo-based Kyodo News said at least three major Chinese banks — Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Agricultural Bank of China — had banned North Koreans living in China from opening up new accounts and ordered existing accounts to be closed.