UN Security Council approves harsher sanctions on North Korea

UN Security Council approves harsher sanctions on North Korea Source: AAP

SBS World News Radio: The international community has welcomed the approval of a United States proposed draft resolution imposing harsher sanctions on North Korea, following its latest nuclear test.

The war of words between North Korea and the United States has escalated, with the isolated nation warning the US to prepare to "suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history".

North Korea says it's "ready to use a form of ultimate means", though it didn't provide any further explanation.

The ominous message comes after the United Nations Security Council approved a US-led resolution further tightening sanctions on North Korea.

Among other measures, the resolution imposes a ban on the nation's textiles, caps its fuel supplies, bans joint ventures with North Korean entities and prohibits countries from bringing in new North Korean workers.

It's the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Council over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs since 2006.

Speaking on a visit to Malaysia, US President Donald Trump downplayed the significance of the action.

"We had a vote yesterday on sanctions. We think it's just another very small step, not a big deal. Rex (Tillerson) and I were just discussing, not big, I don't know if it has any impact but certainly it was nice to get a 15-0 vote - but those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen."

North Korean ambassador Han Tae Song angrily rejected the announcement.

"The adoption of the sanctions resolution against my country is an extreme manifestation of the US intention to eliminate at any cost the ideology, social system of DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea/North Korea) and its people. Such acts constitute a blatant infringement of the sovereignty of my country and a grave challenge to international peace and justice."

The initial proposal had to be cut back before China and Russia would agree.

It also stops short of imposing a full embargo on oil exports to North Korea, most of which come from China.

President Trump has fluctuated between criticising China for not doing enough on North Korea, to praising Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China's UN ambassador insists a diplomatic solution is the only option.

"China is a close neighbour to the Korean peninsula, we've been consistently committed to the denuclearisation and we are against war and chaos on the peninsula. The strategy of the military deployment on the Korean peninsula and the goal of denuclearisation and reaching peace and stability run counter to each other."

At the European Parliament, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, applauded nations for showing a united front.

"Because it sent a message to North Korea that the unity of the international community, from China - that yes, indeed, plays a crucial role - to the Russian Federation, to the United States, to the European Union, to all the other members of the UN Security Council, so the entire international community, is strongly investing in this path: more pressure to open diplomatic channels. North Korea has to feel the diplomatic pressure of a united international community."



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