UN Security Council toughens sanctions on DPR Korea over ballistic missile launches

UN Security Council toughens sanctions on DPR Korea over ballistic missile launches

These measures target Pyongyang's principal exports, imposing a total ban on all exports of coal (North Korea's largest source of external revenue), iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

A United Nations human rights investigator said in 2015 that North Korea has forced more than 50,000 people to work overseas, mainly in Russian Federation and China, earning between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion a year for the country's government.

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. It added the sanctions introduced effective measures to block the North's procurement network for weapons of mass destruction.

"The United States was able to get a pretty strong resolution here that will hit North Korea where it hurts economically", says Ankit Panda, who writes about North Korea for the online magazine, The Diplomat.

This year, Pyongyang was estimated to earn $251 million from iron and iron ore exports, $113 million from lead and lead ore exports, and $295 million from fish and seafood exports, the diplomat said. Despite that, the US and two previous South Korean governments "essentially bought into a sanctions approach to try and stop North Korea", says John Delury, a North Korea watcher who teaches worldwide relations at Seoul's Yonsei University.

The United States has put heavy pressure on China, which accounts for 90% of trade with North Korea, to enforce the sanctions.

Although U.N. sanctions were first imposed in 2006 against North Korea, they have not prevented tests of five nuclear warheads and four long-range missile launches since then, including the two launches in July.

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North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has left the door open for talks with Pyongyang, but he said they would not be productive unless North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear ambitions.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the 15-member body strongly condemned the DPRK's ballistic missile launches on 3 July and 28 July, which the country has stated were of "intercontinental" range. The U.S. could do more on its own to develop a relationship with North Korea, she said.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he hoped recent remarks by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "were honest - that the US is not seeking to dismantle the existing situation or to forcibly unite the peninsula or to militarily intervene in the country". "The ball is in North Korea's court".

"The U.S. government had been moving towards sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals, but they have backed away from that, " said Ruggiero.

"Never have they complained because, to them, they know where he stands and what he stands for", Haley said. "You can not expect North Korea to buckle for anything less than the sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990".