You've probably heard this one before.
After the United Nations unanimously voted to impose stricter sanctions on Kim Jong Un's regime on Monday, North Korea again vociferously rejected the unanimous Security Council decision and issued its latest in a string of threats, recycling verbatim language it had used on Monday (local time) when the US was still calling for a total ban on energy imports to the North. At the time, the North warned that it would inflict “the greatest possible pain” on the US if more sanctions were to be imposed.
Well, later that day, the Security Council unanimously voted to impose "stricter" (not really) sanctions on the North. The resolution cut North Korean exports by 90% and reduced the refined products available to North Korea by 44% and fuel by 30%, however it did not touch the North Korean oil trade, a key factor for Beijing. Of course, this represented a dramatic watering-down of the US's original sanctions proposal, which excluded Trump's prior demands for an oil import ban as well as an international asset freeze on the government and leader Kim Jong Un, concessions made in an attempt to win the support of Moscow and Beijing.
As expected, a North Korean diplomat immediately blasted the measures as "unlawful" according to Reuters:
“‘My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution,” Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae Song, told the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
Han accused the U.S. administration of being ‘fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation,’ and of being ‘obsessed with the wild game of reversing the DPRK’s development of nuclear force which has already reached the completion phase.’”
... Before issuing the following familiar threat.
"The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is “ready to use a form of ultimate means,” Han said without elaborating. The forthcoming measures by DPRK will make the U.S. "suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history,” he said.
As usual, the North's words were largely ignored by the US. One US diplomat – disarmament ambassador Robert Wood – took the floor at the Security Council meeting to praise the sanctions, saying they sent “a very clear and unambiguous message” to the Kim regime.
"U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood took the floor to say that the Security Council resolution “frankly sent a very clear and unambiguous message to the regime that the international community is tired, is no longer willing to put up provocative behaviour from this regime”.
“My hope is the regime will hear the message loud and clear and it will choose a different path,” Wood said.
“We call on all countries to vigorously implement these new sanctions and all other existing sanctions,” he added."
While Korea’s threats have sometimes portended coming nuclear or missile tests, a Friday report from NBC has complicated matters somewhat by relaying that Chinese leaders have said they would intervene to protect Pyongyang if the war of words erupts into a full-scale military conflict on the peninsula, a message they, too, delivered previously in what is becoming a giant geopolitical melodrama on constant rewind.
As for North Korea's threat, Pyongyang cable providers apparently don’t carry E! or CNN, otherwise Kim Jong Un would know how laughable his "max pain" threat is when compared to "Keeping Up With The Kardashians"... or the 2016 presidential campaign.