UN Security Council unanimously adopts North Korea sanctions

UN Security Council unanimously adopts North Korea sanctions

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.


Key points:

  • New sanctions include ban on all textile exports
  • Resolution also bans condensates and natural gas liquids
  • US says North Korea hasn't reached "point of no return"

The United States had called for the strongest possible sanctions and originally proposed seeking an oil embargo on Pyongyang.

But after negotiations, a revised draft of the sanction document only capped crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels.

The new resolution also bans all textile exports and prohibits all countries from authorising new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency.

"We are done trying to prod North Korea to do the right thing, we are now acting to stop it from doing the wrong thing," US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said.

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totalling $US752 million ($937 million), according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

But the resolution is a significant climb-down from the toughest-ever sanctions that the Trump administration proposed in the initial draft resolution it circulated last Tuesday, especially on oil, where a complete ban could have crippled North Korea's economy.

North Korea had warned it would make the US pay a heavy price if Washington's push to impose the toughest sanctions ever were approved by the Security Council.

Ms Haley said the United States was not looking for war with North Korea, and that Pyongyang had "not yet passed the point of no return".

"If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it," she told the Security Council.

"Today's resolution would not have happened without the strong relationship that has developed between President [Donald] Trump and Chinese President Xi [Jinping]."

The resolution imposes a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products as well as the cap on crude oil.

China supplies most of North Korea's crude.

North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test more than a week ago and has been launching ballistic missiles at a record pace.

Both are violations of UN resolutions, but Pyongyang claims it must carry them out to build nuclear deterrent against what it sees as US aggression.

Undaunted by the international criticism of its test, which Pyongyang says was of a hydrogen bomb, Pyongyang celebrated through the weekend, with concerts and banquets for the country's nuclear scientists and engineers.

Reuters/AP