North Korea slapped with new UN sanctions

(BBC) – China and Russia have joined a unanimous UN vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea after its sixth and largest nuclear test.

The council voted 15-0 to back the US-drafted sanctions resolution banning exports of coal, lead and seafood.

Pyongyang has claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb and has continuously threatened to strike the US.

North Korea is already under UN sanctions to force the leadership to curtail its weapons programs.

The new sanctions were agreed on Monday (Sept. 11) after the US removed some of the tougher proposals it had announced last week, including a complete oil embargo and measures to freeze the assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The measures, including a ban on textile exports, target Pyongyang’s ability to fund and fuel its nuclear programme.

It is the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the UN since 2006.

Testing North Korea with sanctions:

·        November 30, 2016: UN slapped sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program, targeting its valuable coal trade with China, slashing exports by about 60% under a new sales cap. Exports of copper, nickel, silver, zinc and the sale of statues were also banned

·        What happened next? On May 14, 2017, North Korea tested what it said was a “newly developed ballistic rocket” capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead

·        June 2, 2017: UN placed new sanctions, imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on four entities and 14 officials, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations

·        What happened next? On July 4, North Korea said it carried out its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Hwasong-14, it said, could hit “any part of the world” (US estimates said that this was unlikely)

·        August 6: UN unanimously agrees to the banning of North Korean exports of coal, ore and other raw materials along with limiting investments in the country

·        What happened next? On September 3, North Korea said it had successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb – many times more powerful than an atomic bomb – that can be miniaturized and loaded on to a long-range missile

China’s envoy to the UN, Liu Jieyi, urged North Korea to “take seriously” the latest resolution and called on all parties to remain “cool-headed”.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said it was “a big mistake to underestimate” an initiative put forward by both China and Russia.

The two countries have proposed a dual suspension of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile testing and US and South Korean military exercises in the region.

US President Donald Trump had previously warned that the US could cut off trade with countries that did business with North Korea.

In August, a new round of US sanctions banned exports including coal, costing North Korea an estimated $1bn (£767m) – about a third of its entire export economy.

A UN Security Council resolution bans North Korea from all nuclear and missile weapons development.


Top: Kim Jong Un celebrated the successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in July. Photo: AFP via  BBC