NORTH KOREA’s regime has warned United States President Donald Trump over what it called “foolish remarks” as he arrived in Japan on Sunday ahead of his visit to South Korea.
A report from the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Trump should “halt the reckless blackmail and take hands off the Korean affairs,” as quoted by South Korea’s state news agency Yonhap.
“Nobody can predict when Trump does a reckless act. The only and one way for checking his rash act is to tame him with absolute physical power,” the report said in English.
KCNA was responding to Trump’s comments at Yokota Air Base west of Tokyo soon after he arrived, warning that that “no dictator, no regime, no nation should ever underestimate American resolve.”
Trump is kicking off a 12-day Asian trip and is looking to present a united front with Japan against North Korea through meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests.
“We will never yield, never waver and never falter in defence of our freedom,” he said.
Pyongyang’s propaganda agency continued: “If the US misjudges (North Korea’s) toughest will and dares to act recklessly, the latter will be compelled to deal a resolute and merciless punishment upon the former with the mobilisation of all forces.”
“The US has no energy to prevent it. Then its regret is too late.”
Trump has rattled some allies with his vow to “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatens the United States and with his dismissal of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as a “rocket man” on a suicide mission.
Recent drills over South Korea by two US strategic bombers have further heightened tensions.
South Korea meanwhile imposed unilateral sanctions on 18 North Koreans on Monday, barring any financial transactions between those sanctioned and any South Koreans, as part of international efforts to dry up Pyongyang’s illegal cash flows.
All 18 individuals on which the South Korean sanctions were imposed were directly affiliated to North Korean banks, according to an official government announcement by the finance minister uploaded on the Interior Ministry’s website.
“They are all people at North Korean financial institutions that have already been sanctioned by the United Nations,” a government official directly involved in the sanction development process told Reuters. The official asked for anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media.
“They’re high-ranking employees who have been linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development programme as well as the North’s foreign exchange procurement efforts.”
South Korean government officials denied it was tied to Trump’s visit to Seoul.
Despite the announcement, the sanctions are expected to have little to no impact on North Korea’s illegal activities to fund its weapons programme as all trade and financial exchanges have been barred since May 2010 following the torpedoing of a South Korean warship by North Korea.
According to the announcement 14 of those named were based in China, two were based in Libya while the remaining two were based in Russia.
As of the announcement on Monday, South Korea had North Korea sanctions imposed on 97 individuals.
Additional reporting from Reuters.