UN Security Council sees "ample possibility" to use sanctions against DPRK


North Korea has justified its latest long-, medium-range ballistic missile test-firing as "routine work to raise nuclear capability for self-defence", rejecting the UN Security Council's condemnation.

Under the leadership of third-generation dictator Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been speeding up its pursuit of a decades-long goal of developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.

On Sunday, the North launched its latest ballistic missile in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. Military action is likely to be left out of the options, and the threshold of the proper conditions for resuming dialogue with North Korea is likely to be raised or lowered according to North Korea's subsequent actions and South Korea and China's skill at diplomacy and mediation.

North Korea has been tied to gunrunning, jewel smuggling, illegal gambling and counterfeiting to pay for its military and the lifestyle of the government, but as foreign nations have clamped down on those activities Pyongyang has turned to cyberattacks for badly needed funds.

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New South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Matt Pottinger, overseeing Asian affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, on Tuesday and afterwards South Korea's presidential Blue House announced that Moon would meet Trump in Washington next month.

Washington has warned North Korea that the "era of strategic patience" they enjoyed under former President Barack Obama would not continue under current President Donald Trump.

A source in North Hamgyong Province said the state benefits are being conferred at a time when scientists need them the most.

The US ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday called for stiffening sanctions against North Korea and perhaps even punishing those who continue to help it, even as she acknowledged that there was no consensus yet with the North's powerful backers in China. "We don't have it done yet", Haley said.

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Despite the push for a tougher stance, Haley held out the prospect of direct talks with North Korea, saying "we are willing to talk but not until we see a total stop of the nuclear process and of any test there".

Communication links were cut by Pyongyang after February 2016, Lee said, when sanctions were imposed on North Korea after its last nuclear test and its decision to shut down a joint industrial zone in the North.

South Korean retailer Lotte, which provided the land for the THAAD deployment, has also been boycotted by Chinese customers and seen construction halted on an amusement park it was building in northeastern China.

The Council has imposed six sets of sanctions against the North since 2006. China really is the key in dealing with the North Korea issue.

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Sunday's rocket, which Pyongyang dubbed the Hwasong-12, could prove to be a more reliable alternative to the Musudan and marks a significant milestone as in its development of an ICBM that could ultimately be tipped with a nuclear warhead, experts said. "Ninety percent of the DPRK's trade is with China, so clearly there is a lot more leverage that China has, and we would like China to use". In a show of force, the United States sent an aircraft carrier strike group, led by the Carl Vinson, to waters off the Korean peninsula to conduct drills with South Korea and Japan.