11 July, 2016
North Korea says it is closing one of its last lines of communication with the United States.
The move is in reaction, North Korea says, to the U.S. placing sanctions on leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.
North Korea said Monday it has told the U.S. that it is ending all diplomatic communications with the U.S. that have been conducted through the U.N. offices in New York.
The U.S. placed personal sanctions on Kim and several other North Korean officials last week. The restrictions added to sanctions already placed on the country for its nuclear weapons program.
Earlier Monday, North Korea threatened to take "physical action" after the U.S. and South Korea announced plans to deploy a missile defense system.
The threat comes several days after U.S. and South Korean officials revealed plans to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as THAAD.
Details, including the location and timing of the deployment, have not been announced.
Through its official KCNA news agency, North Korea threatened to launch a "retaliatory strike" that would turn the South into "a sea of fire" when given the order.
North Korea said the "physical response" will take place the moment the time and location of the THAAD system have been confirmed.
China and Russia also have expressed strong opposition to the deployment of THAAD. Both countries have urged the U.S. and South Korea not to deploy the system.
South Korean President Park Guen-hye said Monday that the THAAD system is only intended as a defensive measure against the North. She said it does not target any other country.
North Korea has tested several long-range missiles recently and exploded a nuclear weapon in January.
Last week, the North fired a missile from a submarine off the coast of the port city of Sinpo. The missile reportedly exploded after traveling about 10 kilometers into the air, similar to a failed test in April.
Western military officials, however, say the North's abilities improve with every test.
China is North Korea's main ally. It has urged the government of Kim Jong Un to return to international talks and dismantle its nuclear program.
In return, China has promised economic assistance and security guarantees.
I'm Mario Ritter.
Chris Allen reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
Words in This Story
sanctions –n. measure that punish a country in an effort to force it to obey international law, usually by limiting trade
location –n. a place, where something is
retaliatory –adj. a measure taken in reaction to an attack
dismantle –v. to take something apart piece by piece