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US to Unveil 'Toughest, Most Aggressive Ever' Sanctions Against N Korea - Pence

© REUTERS / Toru HanaiU.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe review an honor guard before their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, February 7, 2018
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe review an honor guard before their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, February 7, 2018 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW(Sputnik) - The United States will soon roll out its "toughest and most aggressive" round of economic sanctions to ensure the denuclearization against North Korea, US Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

"We will continue to intensify our maximum pressure campaign until North Korea takes concrete steps for complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. To that end, I am announcing today that the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever," Pence told at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The top US official has slammed Pyongyang as the "most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet."

The US vice president has further stated that Washington would not let North Korea "hijack" this month's Winter Olympics with "propaganda."

"We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region," Pence said.

Pence's visit to Japan is part of his Asia trip ahead of the upcoming Pyeongchang Games that will feature North Korean and South Korean national teams participating in the opening ceremony under a joint flag, an unprecedented move, which has been a result of breakthrough talks initiated by Kim Jong-un's New Year address.

READ MORE: North Korea: US Considers Limited Pre-Emptive Strike

Representative Mike Pompeo pauses as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination to head the CIA on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017 - Sputnik International
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In the wake of the thaw with Pyongyang, the joint US-South Korean war games have been suspended at the request of Seoul, however, the Pentagon has continued boosting forces in the region. Most recently, the US Navy sent two guided missile destroyers for a deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.

In its turn, Pyongyang has blamed Washington for bringing its strategic assets to and around the Korean peninsula "under the pretext of the security of the Olympic games." According to the North Korean envoy to UN disarmament talks, US military reinforcements "are designed to make a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK."

READ MORE: Russia Begins to Deport North Korean Staff in Line With UN Sanctions

Pyongyang has been subjected to several rounds of UNSC sanctions, with the member states unanimousl voting in favor of a US-drafted resolution to introduce new new restrictions against North Korea over its continued ballistic missile tests on December 22, 2017. Multiple provisions in the resolution sanctioned North Korea's oil and petroleum industries, a move harshly slammed by Pyongyang.

Though Russia and China have backed the sanctions, they have repeated their call to consider the so-called "double freeze" plan aimed to settle the situation on the peninsula, which urges North Korea to halt nuclear activities and calls on the US and South Korea to refrain from joint drills. While Russia Moscow has warned that the humanitarian situation in North Korea is worsening as a result of the imposed restrictions.

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