US Plans to Impose New Sanctions on North Korea

Hillary Clinton, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and South Korean foreign minister Yu Myung-hwan, front left

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed her disapproval over warnings made by North Korea regarding US naval drills set in South Korea. The Secretary of State said it is "distressing" that North Korea keeps issuing threats.

North Korea has stated that if the drills are held, it would call for a "retaliatory sacred war," and that they'd respond with "powerful nuclear deterrence."

In response to the threats made by North korea, Clinton said last Wednesday that US intends to impose new sanctions as a penalty for the sinking of the 1,200-ton Cheonan that killed 46 sailors last March. These sanctions are also meant to suppress any nuclear plans the country might have.

"These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long due to the misguided and malign priorities of their government," Clinton said while touring the Demilitarized Zone separating the North from South Korea with Defense Secretary Robert Gates early this week.

"They are directed at the destabilizing, illicit, and provocative policies pursued by that government," Clinton said.

The U.S. and South Korea have said the drills are meant to demonstrate force and to discourage North Korean aggression. It will involve the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 20 additional ships and submarines, 100 jets and 8,000 personnel.

South Korea is expected to hold the naval drills in the Yellow Sea for five days. The drills are being held in response to the sinking of the South Korean warship blamed on North Korea.

North Korea strongly denies involvement in the sinking of Cheonan. The incident has been a source of great tension between North and South Korea.  North Korea has demanded that its own investigators be allowed to visit to South Korea to examine the results. Seoul has rejected the request.