North Korea informed the U.S. on July 10th that it would cut off the New York channel of communication to the U.S. Government. If American policymakers lament their own lack of leverage against North Korea, this move demonstrates the limited options Pyongyang has with which to respond to the July 6 U.S. human rights sanctions against the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and other top officials. For the North, options on the table include words, harshness toward U.S. citizen detainees, or nuclear/missile tests.
“Because the United States did not accept our demand that the sanctions be retracted, we are taking concrete actions one by one, the first of which is to completely cut off the New York channel of communication, the only official point of contact that has existed between the two sides,” the Korean Central News Agency announced July 11.
Meanwhile, the North said it would deal with two U.S. citizens it holds under its wartime law, implying that the detainees would not be released on humanitarian grounds.
By describing the New York channel cut-off as its “first” response, the North implied that it may conduct further nuclear or missile tests. . . . (read the rest on The Cipher Brief)