UN Approves New North Korea Sanctions

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea.

The sanctions come a week after the 15-member council began talks regarding North Korea’s escalating aggression.

The resolution bans North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and limits the amount of crude oil and petrol that may be imported.

North Korea is also banned from exporting textiles, and no new work permits will be given to North Korean workers, which will cost the Asian nation around 500 million US dollars a year.

The US originally pushed for much tougher sanctions, such as a total ban on oil exports, and the freezing of Kim Jong-un’s personal assets abroad.

These sanctions were dropped from the resolution to appease Russia and China, who both have veto power as permanent members of the Security Council.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that, despite the watered down resolution, these are the “strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea”.

Haley added that, while the US does not want war, “today we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea…if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves”.

In recent weeks North Korea test-fired a missile over Japan, and then tested the most powerful nuclear weapon in the country, a hydrogen bomb. The test was called a “perfect success” by local media.

North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations called the latest nuclear test a “gift package” for the United States. He added that, “[t]he US will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on [North Korea]”.

Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the UN, believes that the sanctions will not “really pressure” North Korea, and that Pyongyang is likely to respond with a missile launch in the next few days.