A North Korean envoy told Reuters on Tuesday that the country is immune to the US sanctions designed to disconnect Pyongyang from global financial institutions and that an “acceleration” of missile programs and nuclear development was forthcoming.
Calling the sanctions "heinous and inhumane," Choe said, "I think this is stemming from the visit by [US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] to Japan, South Korea and China … We of course are not afraid of any act like that … Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference."
Choe also criticized the joint military exercises currently underway between South Korea and the US, an act that North Korea sees as a kind of dress rehearsal for invasion. He denounced remarks made last week by Tillerson that heavily implied that a military response to tensions with Pyongyang was forthcoming.
He claimed that "All [Tillerson] was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK … In the light of such huge military forces involved in the joint military exercises, we have no other choice but to continue with our full acceleration of the nuclear programs and missile programs. It is because of these hostile activities on the part of the United States and South Korea."
Choe remained tight-lipped about the details surrounding the North’s rocket engine test on Sunday, only saying it was a positive step from his country that would undoubtedly lead to "fruitful outcomes."
On Monday the North threatened to reduce the US to "ashes" if they encounter "even a single bullet" fired toward Pyongyang.