It was the first time for Trump the unpredictable president to address the United Nations, followed by a rare public appearance by a senior figure from Pyongyang.
China accounts for about 90 % of North Korea’s foreign trade and is under constant pressure from the USA and others to tighten the screws on its neighbor and former close Communist ally. “It’s called the military option”. The video on DPRK Today, which was patched together from photos and crude computer-generated animation, also included footage of North Korean solid-fuel missiles being fired from land mobile launchers and a submarine.
The North Korean official, in his speech, excoriated the US and its allies, Japan and South Korea, calling them “stooges”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in NY, said the situation on the Korean peninsula was at a very unsafe stage, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, also called for dialogue and negotiation.
The designations by the Treasury Department are in line with a new executive order signed by President Donald Trump last week.
In an unprecedented direct statement on Friday, Kim responded by calling Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” whom he would tame with fire.
Speaking earlier in NY, where he had been attending the annual U.N. General Assembly, Ri told reporters: “The whole world should clearly remember it was the USA who first declared war on our country”. “But the things that he’s said over the last year – and if you look back to things that he’s said to past administrations – North Korea is a situation that should have been handled 25 years ago, 20 years ago, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, and five years ago, and it could have been handled much more easily”, he said. Subsequently, North Korea sent two missiles sailing over Japan, much to Tokyo’s consternation, to demonstrate that Guam was within its striking distance.
Trump spoke alongside the visiting Spanish prime minister minutes after his Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting eight North Korean banks and 26 bank workers living overseas. The outcome may well be determined by China.
On Saturday, U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of force after a heated exchange of rhetoric between Trump and Kim over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The eight banks are all in North Korea.
Christine Hong, associate professor at U.C. Santa Cruz says many North Koreans remember the bombings and civilian deaths during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. “This position remains clear and consistent”. Both banks had been previously targeted under earlier sanctions authorities. “So this sounds like another attempt by North Korea to “deter by bluster” USA actions the regime does not like”. According to China, that is because sanctions are not meant to harm “normal” trade or affect ordinary North Korean people.
Clearly what is different in this crisis is the key personalities – Trump and Kim.
Political analyst Brian Sobel says while the rhetoric might be bluster, it also increases the risks of threats turning to action.
Instead, Washington and Pyongyang continue on a collision course.
Whenever sanctions bite too hard, China can ease them, citing humanitarian concerns.
The US, has for some time, been contemplating using its military capabilities to “destroy” North Korea.
Frank Ching is an American journalist and commentator based in Hong Kong who frequently writes on issues related to China.