UN unanimously approves new sanctions on North Korea
(ShareCast News) - The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to adopt new resolutions that would see a ban on textile exports and a restriction on shipments of oil products to North Korea in the wake of its sixth and largest nuclear test.
The US-drafted resolution was voted in 15-0 on Monday, marking the ninth time since 2006 that the council had unanimously voted in favour of sanctions aimed at blocking the Asian nation's proliferation of nuclear arms.
Initial proposals for the sanctions included a freeze on the assets of North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un and a total ban on the flow of oil to Pyongyang, however in order to appease China and Russia, which had previously showed scepticism regarding further sanctions, the bill was watered down.
While preventing the DPRK from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, according to some observers the UN resolution simply capped crude oil imports at the same level at which they had been over the previous 12 months, while limiting imports of refined petroleum products to 2m barrels per year.
Nonetheless, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the ban on textile exports and overseas workers, which were also included in Monday's sanctions, would deprive Kim Jong-un of an estimated $1.3bn annually.
She said America was not aiming to start a war with North Korea, hoping Pyongyang would not continue its programme and risk passing the "point of no return."
"If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it," Haley told the council after the new sanctions had been adopted.
Donald Trump has vowed to make certain the North is not able to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the United States mainland, Haley said the President's "strong relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping was integral in assuring Trump had the power to keep that promise.
Chinese ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi implored Pyongyang to "take seriously the expectations and will of the international community" to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile deployment, and asked that all sides remain "cool-headed" by avoiding an increase in rhetoric that could heighten tensions.
China and Russia proposed a dual suspension of North Korea's nuclear and ICBM testing, as well as joint-military exercises between the US and South Korea in order to kick-start negotiations "sooner rather than later."
"We think it's a big mistake to underestimate this Russia, China initiative. It remains on the table at the Security Council and we will insist on it being considered," said Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
Haley referred to the proposal, which included the removal of the THAAD military defence system, as "insulting."
Pyongyang made threats earlier on Monday that the US would pay a "due price" for drafting the resolutions, saying "The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged."
Kim had yet to respond to the resolutions at the time of publication, however South Korea noted on Tuesday that the rogue state remained technically prepared to perform a nuclear test.