Treasury sanctions two 'key leaders of North Korea's unlawful weapons program'

North Korea news Kim Jong-un Andy Jackson China

The North Korean state news agency KCNA reported a statement from the foreign ministry that said the USA had come to fear its nuclear force and had become "more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country".

But China only agreed to target the four ships flying North Korean flags, diplomats said, as part of global efforts to curb Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programmes.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest missile launch, which Pyongyang claims is capable of reaching the USA mainland.

Last week, the UN Security Council imposed new caps on trade with North Korea, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year. It objects to the military drills conducted by the United States and its allies in the Korean peninsula and insists that its missile programs are meant to defend itself from aggression.

New additions to the list are 16 people from North Korea and the defence ministry in the capital Pyongyang, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

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A report from the state news agency KCNA, headlined "No Force Can Prevail over Independence and Justice" and reported by CNN, told readers: "Do not expect any change in its policy".

Ri Pyong-chol and Kim Jong-sik were named as leaders of the country's missile program in a Treasury Department announcement.

The largely symbolic steps block any property or interests the two might have within United States jurisdiction and prohibit any dealings by USA citizens with them.

Former assistant defense secretary Andrew Weber warned about how unsafe the weapons could be if developed by Kim Jong-un.

From January 1st to December 29th this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a total of 93 public activities, which is about 30 percent less than last year.

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Mr Ri is one of the most prominent aides, and likely represents the Workers Party on the missile programme, experts say.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un and his administration won't be abandoning their tough rhetoric towards America, if a belligerent report from the country's official news outlet is anything to go by.

Mr Ri has visited China once and Russian Federation twice.

North Korea has labeled the claims "groundless". Pyongyang claims those it is now capable of sending those missiles to any part of the US mainland.

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