North Koreans watch a statement by dictator Kim Jong Un on a television screen outside of the railway station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 22, 2017. (ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
Just weeks after the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, the regime admitted that the restrictions were having an impact.
The new sanctions were passed on Sept. 11 in response to a sixth underground nuclear test by North Korea. They ban all natural gas sales to the North, limit the amount of oil that can be sold to the country, and ban its exports of textile products.
President Donald Trump, who pushed for the sanctions, originally had wanted a complete halt to the sale of oil, but received pushback from Russia and China.
North Korea’s state media said on Sept. 29 that the sanctions are causing a “colossal amount of damage.” The media also threatened the United States with extinction.
It is a rare admission by the North Korean regime—which frequently prides itself, in its propaganda, on being a model socialist nation that is indispensable to the world—of the effects of sanctions.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said while visiting China that new sanctions imposed on North Korea are starting to have an effect.
“The Chinese are also telling us that it’s having an effect, and they have a pretty close-up view of it,” Tillerson said during a joint press conference with U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad on Sept. 30.
Dictator Kim Jong Un has relentlessly pursued the development of nuclear weapons. The program was initially started by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and further advanced by his father, Kim Jong Il.
North Korean state media reported last month that its state nuclear program is nearing completion.
The regime has a history of continuing its expensive nuclear program despite the great suffering experienced by its people. At least 1 million people have died from starvation and disease in North Korea over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.