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The Facts

  • President Donald Trump said Tuesday afternoon from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey:

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

  • Hours later, North Korea said it was “examining the operational plan” to strike Guam, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean. North Korea said it was also considering a ballistic missile strike against Anderson Air Force Base — one of the closest American military bases to North Korea located on US soil.
  • Trump tweeted Wednesday morning:

“What the president was doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand because he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language… I think Americans should sleep well at night and have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days. I think the president, again as Commander in Chief, felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to North Korea.”

The Context

North Korea Responds to New Sanctions

  • On Monday, North Korea threatened retaliation against the US in response to the latest round of UN sanctions imposed against the regime.
    • The sanctions were adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council Saturday in response to two ballistic missile launches by North Korea on 3 July and 28 July.
  • North Korea threatened to retaliate “thousands of times over” against the US, calling the sanctions a “violent infringement” on their sovereignty.

  • According to a statement released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the sanctions have only made the country “more determined that this is the only way we can survive, the only path we can take.” The statement continued:

“If the United States, which has been going on the rampage to eliminate our thoughts and institutions for ages by fair means or foul, thinks it will be safe as it located crossing the oceans, there is no greater miscalculation than that… We will balance the US’ felonious crime against our country and our people with something thousands of times worse, and if the US does not retract its attempts to crush us to death and behave prudently, we will be ready and not hesitate to take ultimate measures.

  • This is the regime’s first response to the sanctions that were drafted by the US and adopted by the UN Security Council.
    • The sanctions place restrictions on the country’s international trade that may cost around $1 billion worth of North Korean exports, roughly a third of the country’s total exports, per year.

The Sanctions

“The Council moved to significantly strengthen the sanctions on the DPRK, imposing a full ban on the export of coal, iron and iron ore from the DPRK. Previously these items could be exported for livelihood purposes, for a limited amount… “The Council also prohibited countries from increasing the total number of work authorizations for DPRK nationals. It banned new joint ventures or cooperative entities with DPRK entities or individuals as well as additional investments in existing joint ventures.”

  • US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called the sanctions the most stringent in a generation.
    • On 5 August, she tweeted:

  • On 5 August, President Donald Trump tweeted about the adoption of the sanction by the Security Council:

  • The effectiveness of the sanctions will depend on enforcement by two countries that voted in favor of them, China and Russia.
    • President Trump tweet calling out importance of China/Russia:

  • Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the New York Times:

“The number cited by the Trump administration assumes China and Russia will implement the resolution. Eleven years of United Nations sanctions resolutions prove they will not.”

  • The sanctions targeted important sectors of North Korea’s economy but the resolution makes no impact on oil imports and North Koreans who work abroad and send money home. According to the New York Times, these finances are key because it is “money that the United Nations says is used in the weapons program… The new sanctions cap the current number of workers overseas, but stop short of calling for those who already work abroad to return to North Korea.”
  • Sanctions are not a new tool being used in hopes of altering the behavior of North Korea. The Washington Post reported Pyongyang has been under sanctions from the UN Security Council since the country’s first nuclear test in 2006.
  • Last year, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2270. The Washington Post called it, “The harshest sanctions yet, these sweeping measures took the punishment a step further by targeting North Korean economic activity not directly related to proliferation, including the export of mineral resources such as coal or iron”
    • Resolution 2371, which adopts the new sanctions, expands upon this past resolution from the council.
  • The Washington Post reported North Korea has used past sanctions as a tool in their propaganda efforts, “In the past, North Korea has used sanctions as a domestic propaganda tool and an excuse for its own economic mismanagement.”
  • President Donald Trump spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on 6 August to discuss North Korea. According to the New York Times, President Moon Jae-in‘s office said, “Above all, President Moon emphasized that South Korea can never accept a war erupting again on the Korean Peninsula.”
  • The office continued describing President Moon’s call with President Trump saying, “He stressed that the North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved in a peaceful, diplomatic manner through close coordination between South Korea and the United States.”
  • The White House responded to the call between the leaders saying it had “affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat.”
  • President Donald Trump tweeted about his call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in:

US Responses to Sanctions

  • President Donald Trump tweeted:

  • Ambassador Haley responds to North Korea’s threat at retaliation in an interview with Fox News:

  • On Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear that there is one way North Korea can improve relations. He told reporters, according to NPR:

“We’ve not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles. So I think that would be the first and strongest signal they could send to us, is to just stop these missile launches. Obviously we have other means of communication open to them, to certainly hear from them if they have a desire to want to talk.”

  • According to the Washington Post, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang “urged the United States and South Korea, as well as the North, not to increase tensions, saying the situation already is at a “critical point.”
  • Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton tweeted:

  • Anthony Ruggiero tweeted:

North Korea’s Responses to Sanctions

  • While at the ASEAN Regional Forum on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in a speech released to reporters said, “We will, under no circumstances, put the nukes and ballistic rockets on the negotiating table.”
  • According to the Washington Post, Ri’s speech transcript continued, “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 U.S. against the D.P.R.K. are fundamentally eliminated.”

Emily Priddy contributed to this report.

The Whim News Team

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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