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United Nations approves new North Korea sanctions over missile tests
07 August 2017, 12:54 | Nellie George
UN Security Council slaps new sanctions on DPRK over missile launch
China's support for sweeping sanctions on North Korea under a new United Nations Security Council resolution show Beijing recognizes the gravity of the threat of Pyongyang's nuclear program and missile tests, a top US official said on Sunday, Reuters reports.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley praised the new sanctions, telling council members after the vote that it is "the single largest economic package ever levelled against the North Korean regime".
When asked about the proposal, Haley told reporters that US-South Korean military exercises are transparent and have been going on for 40 years, and that it is now up to North Korea to stop its activity before the six-party talks can resume.
As such, this resolution "sends a clear message" to Pyongyang that the Security Council is united in condemning its violations and demanding the country give up its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
The sanctions ban countries from buying North Korean coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. And it prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korean companies and bans new foreign investment in existing ones.
According to a Security Council diplomat, coal has been North Korea's largest export, earning $1.2 billion previous year which was then restricted by the Security Council in November to a maximum $400 million.
The Security Council has already imposed six rounds of sanctions that have failed to halt North Korea's drive to improve its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.
It was important for all parties to have dialogue to de-escalate the issue, and it was also incumbent on China to ensure that the sanctions on North Korea were fully implemented, said Susan Thornton, acting Assistant Secretary of State East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The goal is to halt North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the USA and elsewhere, a mission given added urgency after two intercontinental ballistic missile tests occurred in July.
It adds nine North Koreans, mainly officials or representatives of companies and banks, to the United Nations sanctions blacklist, banning their travel and freezing their assets.
On Saturday in New York, Russia's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia expressed concerns that the U.S. scaling up its THAAD anti-missile system and a recent 10-hour mission by aircraft carriers to the Korean Peninsula could pose further threats to regional security.
A Security Council diplomat, who was not authorised to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity, called the newly sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank "a very critical clearing house for foreign exchange".
While the draft resolution would impose biting economic sanctions, the USA didn't get everything it wanted.
Oil was not included in the draft resolution and neither are new air restrictions.
North Korea has repeatedly said it will never give up its nuclear arsenal, which it sees as a guarantee of its security.
He said he hoped comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday, that the US is not seeking regime change or to accelerate reunification of North and South Korea or an excuse to send the US military into the region, were honest.
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