N. Korea: US sanctions will ‘never work’

GENEVA: North Korea told a United Nations (UN) disarmament forum on Tuesday that sanctions over its nuclear programme would "never work", as it voiced further defiance against President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign.

The "US should (be) aware that sanctions and pressure will never threaten (North Korea) and never work", said Mr Han Tae Song, Pyongyang's envoy to the UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The comments came days after Mr Trump unveiled what he described as the heaviest-ever sanctions levied on North Korea.

That may be an overstatement given past tough measures against Pyongyang approved by Washington, but Mr Trump's administration has confirmed the new sanctions target virtually every ship that North Korea is currently using.

North Korean diplomats often spar with US officials at the disarmament body in Geneva.

"If the US ignores our sincere efforts for improving inter-Korean relations... but prefers provocation and confrontation, the DPRK will certainly respond," Mr Han said, using an acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Despite an apparent easing of tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang at the recent "peace Olympics" in South Korea, Mr Trump pledged to maintain pressure on the North.

He warned if the latest sanctions do not work, "we will have to go to phase two. Phase two may be a rough thing".

Washington's disarmament ambassador on Tuesday repeated that the US would never accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.

"It will not happen," Mr Robert Wood said. - AFP