Turning the Screws on North Korea

Turning the Screws on North Korea

"Chinese government authorities will issue a notice based on the export situation when approaching the upper limit, and from that date implement a prohibition on exports of refined oil products to North Korea for the year", it said.

The U.S. Geological Survey, however, said it could not confirm whether Saturday's seismic activity was man-made or natural.

Ri had warned Thursday that North Korea may consider an even larger hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific region.

"We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the USA homeland and our allies".

In a rare statement released under his own name last Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to take the "highest-level" action in response to Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the North over its nuclear and missile programs.

Kim didn't say what that meant exactly, but his foreign minister later described a likely nuclear explosion over the Pacific Ocean.

The heated exchanges between Trump and Kim come at a time when diplomatic pressure may be starting to bear fruit. On Thursday, the US unveiled its own set of economic sanctions targeting North Korea.

Satellite photos of the area after the Sept 3 quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was a hydrogen bomb.

Trump has said he will not allow it, although the U.S. so far has not used military force to impede the North's progress.

After Saturday's tremors, U.S. Air Force fighter jets escorted bombers in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea.

It said the flight was the farthest north of the demilitarised zone between the Koreas that any United States fighter jet or bomber had flown in the 21st Century.

This Korean Central News Agency photo released on September 24, 2017, shows a reported 100,000 North Koreans holding a mass anti-U.S. rally in Pyongyang on September 23, 2017.

The US characterised the flights as extending farther north of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), than any US fighter or bomber had gone off the North Korean coast in the 21st century.

China's natural disaster administration said on Saturday it had detected a magnitude 3.4 quake in North Korea that was a "suspected explosion", raising fears the isolated state had conducted another nuclear bomb test weeks after its last one.

He said Mr Trump's repeated insults about Mr Kim made "our rocket's visit to the entire USA mainland inevitable all the more".

Trump on Friday had renewed his rhetorical offensive against Kim.

The US president responded by saying Mr Ri and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "won't be around much longer" if they continue their rhetoric.

After a week in which, with tweets and in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump introduced the derogatory nickname "Rocket Man" for Kim into worldwide news coverage and left open his prerogative to "totally destroy" North Korea, the president gave no ground on Friday in his public standoff with his adversary. Luther Strange, Trump lashed out against Kim, telling the crowd, "we can't have madmen out there shooting rockets all over the place".

Trump's executive order expanded the Treasury Department's ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea, and to ban them from interacting with the USA financial system.

China will limit exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1, its commerce ministry said, confirming Beijing's participation in new United Nations sanctions meant to rein in its rogue neighbour.

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