The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday for its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.
The U.N. resolution seeks to ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.
The U.S.-drafted resolution also caps crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year and commits the Council to further reductions if it were to conduct another nuclear test or launch another ICBM.
North Korea on Nov. 29 said it successfully tested a new ICBM that put the U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
Tension has been rising over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.
In November, North Korea demanded a halt to what it called “brutal sanctions”, saying a round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 constituted genocide.
U.S. diplomats have made clear they are seeking a diplomatic solution but proposed the new, tougher sanctions resolution to ratchet up pressure on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“It sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation,” Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said after the 15-0 vote.
The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a bid to further choke North Korea’s external sources of funding, the resolution also seeks to ban North Korean exports of food products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, wood and vessels.
It also bans exports to North Korea of industrial equipment, machinery, transport vehicles, and industrial metals as well as subjecting 15 North Koreans and the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces to a global asset freeze and travel ban.
The resolution seeks to allow countries to seize, inspect and freeze any vessel they believe was carrying banned cargo or involved in prohibited activities.Reuters