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North Korea

North Korea: UN Security Council approves new sanctions

China and Russia have backed a key resolution that curbs textile exports and restricts shipments of oil products. If Pyongyang stops its nuclear program, "it can reclaim its future," said the US ambassador to the UN.

The UN Security Council on Monday approved new sanctions against North Korea in response to Pyongyang's continued nuclear tests. China and Russia both backed the resolution drafted by the US which imposes new sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on textile exports and restricting shipments of oil products.

Speaking as the council passed the resolution in New York on Monday night, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the US was not looking for war with North Korea and Pyongyang has "not yet passed the point of no return."

Read more: North Korea: From war to nuclear weapons

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

'Dangerous new development'

Haley acknowledged what she called a "strong relationship" between US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi, who had played a key role in negotiating the new sanctions.

In the original draft, the US wanted a full oil embargo and a freeze on the foreign assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but softened its demands in order to get the support of veto-holders Russia and China in the council. 

Nevertheless, Haley insisted the measures were the strongest ever imposed on North Korea. "We are acting in response to a dangerous new development," Haley told the Security Council after the vote. 

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, softened the text of the resolution to secure Russian and Chinese support

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, softened the text of the resolution to secure Russian and Chinese support

North Korean UN Ambassador Pak Kil-yon told the disarmament conference: "My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful UN security council resolution."

Oil products and textile exports

The resolution bans North Korea from importing natural gas liquids and condensates. It caps Pyongyang's imports of crude oil to the level of the last 12 months, and it limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year.

The resolution also bans all textile exports and prohibits all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers. Both of these have been key sources of hard currency.

Read more: Where did North Korea get its missile technology?

The measure punishes Pyongyang for its sixth and largest nuclear test.

The resolution follows other sanctions passed a month ago banning exports of coal, lead and seafood which are to yet be implemented.

Ahead of the vote, North Korea had said the US would face "the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history."

"The world will witness how [North Korea] tames the US gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged," the foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the KCNA news agency.

Russia and China back talks

Speaking at the council on Monday night, both the Chinese and Russian envoys called for negotiations with North Korea. China's envoy, Liu Jieyi, said the relevant parties should resume negotiations "sooner rather than later," and urged Pyongyang to "take seriously the expectations and will of the international community" to halt its nuclear program.

Read more: What is China's role in the North Korean crisis?

Russia's Vassily Nebenzia said it would be a "big mistake" to underestimate the two countries' proposal to kick-start North Korea talks. "We will insist it be considered," he said. 

The Security Council has previously called for the resumption of six-party talks aimed at negotiating a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Those talks involving North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the US ended in 2009.

Infographic showing development of North Korea's nuclear program

ls,jm/mm (Reuters, AP)

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