The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea over the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.
The council voted 15-0 to back the US-drafted sanctions resolution. New measures include imposing a ban on the country’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil. It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by Council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Pyongyang has claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb and has continuously threatened to strike the US. The American delegation watered down an initial tougher draft resolution to win the support of Pyongyang ally China and Russia. 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 were not in the final text.
A week ago, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the “strongest possible” sanctions on North Korea and had sought an oil embargo on Pyongyang. However, on Monday, Haley seemed to ease on the rhetoric, saying 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 after adopting the new sanctions.
Haley added that the latest resolution would not have happened without the strong relationship that had developed between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, urged North Korea to take seriously the expectations and will of the international community and called on all parties to remain “cool-headed” and not stoke tensions.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass. In negotiations on the latest resolution, diplomats said Russia had questioned what leverage the Security Council would have left if North Korea continued to conduct nuclear and missile testing. Both the Russian diplomats and China have been critical that there is too much focus on pressuring Pyongyang with sanctions and not enough debate about possible diplomatic solutions. North Korea is already under UN sanctions to force the leadership to curtail its weapons programs. A Security Council resolution bans the country from all nuclear and missile weapons development.