The United Nations Security Council came to a unanimous agreement on new sanctions to be imposed on North Korea on Monday. These new sanctions come as a direct result of North Korea’s largest nuclear test to date, executed on September 3rd, that appeared to indicate that Kim Jong un’s regime now has the ability to produce extremely powerful hydrogen bombs.
Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea, and today the Security Council is saying that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves,” U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said after the vote Monday. “We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing, we are now trying to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing,” she added.
The new sanctions, championed by the United States, will ban North Korea’s textile exports, an important source of income for the North Korean economy, and will cap fuel supplies heading into the reclusive state. Although this resolution represents the tightest fiscal chokehold imposed on North Korea to date, it is the ninth such resolution to pass a Security Council vote.
We don’t take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today. We are not looking for war,” Nikki Haley told the council. “The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return. If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future … If North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure.”
Haley went on to credit the “strong relationship” President Donald Trump has cultivated with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the successful negotiation of this new resolution that many thought could potentially be rebuked by China or another vocal opponent of U.S. sanctions on North Korea, Russia.
Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, appeared before the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday, where he told the council that the United States was “fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation.”
“My delegation condemns in the strongest terms, and categorically rejects, the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution,” he said, adding that North Korea is “ready to use a form of ultimate means,” though he did not elaborate. Based on the circumstances and context, it seems likely that Han was delivering yet another threat of preemptive nuclear strikes.
“The forthcoming measures by DPRK will make the U.S. suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history,” he concluded.
Robert Wood, America’s disarmament ambassador, then took the floor to address the new Security Council resolution, saying that it “frankly sent a very clear and unambiguous message to the regime that the international community is tired, is no longer willing to put up with provocative behavior from this regime”.
As of the adoption of the new resolution, UN member states are required to halt the import of all textiles from North Korea, which serves as the nation’s second largest export after coal. According to South Korean data, North Korea’s textile exports accounted for approximately $752 million in 2016, which accounts for about a full quarter of the nation’s entire trade-based income. Of that $752 million, nearly 80% came from China.
This resolution also puts an end to the regime making money from the 93,000 North Korean citizens it sends overseas to work and heavily taxes,” Haley said, adding, “This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional $500 million or more in annual revenues.”
Image courtesy of the United Nations
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