U.S. poised to impose new sanctions against North Korea
The sanctions are expected to aim to increase pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program as any nuclear test will be perceived by Washington as highly provocative.
The U.S. is concerned that North Korea is preparing to test nuclear weaponry for the first time since 2017. U.S. officials’ fears can be explained by the record number of ballistic missile tests conducted by North Korea this year and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s orders to strengthen the country’s defense capabilities.
Kim Jong-un’s statements sparked speculation in South Korea that Pyongyang may be planning to add tactical nuclear weapons to its arsenal.
In June, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin discussed North Korea’s “provocations” with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and told a press conference that Pyongyang “will be met with a united and firm response” from his country, its allies and the international community at large if it goes ahead with nuclear tests.