The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said the sanctions will cost North Korea one-third of its exports — or more than $1 billion in hard currency.
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U.S.-North Korea tensions topped the agenda at Sunday’s meeting of foreign ministers in Manila, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his North Korean counterpart avoided any direct contact.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathering came a day after the United Nations imposed tough new sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile programs and less than a week after Tillerson vowed that the U.S. has no intention of overthrowing the dictatorship of Kim Jong Un.
That diplomatic concession led to speculation that Tillerson and Ri Yong Ho of North Korea, attending their first meeting together, might actually meet. But they appeared to take pains to avoid a casual meeting. Tillerson even skipped an evening gala attended by Ri, saying he was preparing for Day 2 of the summit.
Tillerson did meet with top diplomats from South Korea and China on Sunday and seemed to get a long-awaited boost from Beijing in exerting pressure on North Korea, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly admonished North Korea to abide by the new sanctions.
“Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Wang said he told North Korea’s Ri.
Ri did not respond publicly. North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun news website published a scathing commentary dismissing the sanctions as “cooked up by the U.S.,” adding that “the U.S. mainland is on the crossroads of…