US curbs target N-experts to check North Korea missiles

Report of Anthrax antibodies found on defected North Korean soldier raises bio-warfare concerns

Report of Anthrax antibodies found on defected North Korean soldier raises bio-warfare concerns

At least four defectors from North Korea have shown signs of radiation exposure, the South Korean government said on Wednesday, although researchers could not confirm if they were related to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

The alleged revelation comes days after the UNSC imposed a new package of punitive measures against the North in response to its most recent long-range missile test in November. The sanctions have been greeted with stout condemnation, even a "categorical rejection" of the United Nations resolution ~ "The US is terrified by the North's nuclear force and is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose pressure on our country".

Ri Pyong Chol and Kim Jong Sik are now both blacklisted - which means any assets they have in the USA will be frozen, although as NPR's David Welna notes, "It's not clear whether either of them, in fact, has any US assets".

"The sides were united in the opinion that nuclear missile projects in North Korea violate the demands of the UN Security Council", the Russian foreign ministry said after the call.

On Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously passed new, US-drafted sanctions that will restrict oil supplies vital for North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

The resolution, drafted by the USA and supported by every other security council member state, will cut petrol imports to North Korea by as much as 90 percent, ban exports from the country, and require the return home of North Korean nationals employed overseas.

North Korea called those sanctions "an act of war" and said the U.S. and other nations that supported the strict measures will pay a heavy price.

Last week the Japanese newspaper Asahi reported that North Korea had started to test loading anthrax onto intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Tensions have risen over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

A survey of Japanese citizens and Americans across the two countries show over 40 percent of respondents oppose US military action on North Korea.

Washington has made it clear that all options, including military ones, are on the table, but it prefers a diplomatic solution.

In its report Saturday, KCNA said North Korea had taken steps for "bolstering the capabilities for self-defence and pre-emptive attacks with nuclear force" in the face of a continued "nuclear threat and blackmail and war drills" by the United States and its "vassal forces".

As of Wednesday noon, the number of Kim's activities reported by the media in 2017 was 102, compared with 141 past year, according to a tally kept by Radiopress, which monitors North Korean media around the clock.

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