The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to tighten sanctions on North Korea following the country’s fifth nuclear test in September this year.
The 15-nation Council’s resolution slashed North Korea’s biggest export, coal, by about 60 percent with an annual sales cap of $400.9 million or 7.5 million metric tons per year, starting January 1, 2017.
Additionally, the Security Council is banning North Korea supplying, selling or transferring coal, iron and iron ore from its territory as well as from engaging in the sale of copper, nickel, silver and zinc. Transactions for livelihood purposes are however excluded from the ban.
China’s permanent representative to the United Nations Liu Jieyi said: “The resolution adopted by the Security Council today demonstrates the uniform stance of the international community against DPRK’s plan of developing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and for the maintenance of the international nuclear non-proliferation system. The resolution reaffirms to safeguard peace and stability in the Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and promises to solve the problems in peaceful, diplomatic and political ways. “
Liu further pointed out that the relevant measures “are not intended to produce negative consequences on North Korea’s humanitarian situation and the livelihood of its people, nor to affect normal economic and trade activities”.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon while calling on the international community to improve the living conditions of the people of North Korea, asked the country to “reverse its course and move onto the path of denuclearization through sincere dialogue”.
Meanwhile the news of new sanctions on North Korea has been greeted across Asia.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry praised the sanctions adding it will pursue further unilateral sanctions against its northern neighbor, reports the Reuters news agency.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga said the new sanctions would control the North’s resources.
“The decision was to further strengthen sanction that were set in March this year, by the United Nations Security Council, in North Korea. We will strictly regulate the flow of capital, goods and people and especially, North Korea’s export of its major resource, coal – which will be regulated with us indicating a specific number ceiling.”
Diplomats say China, believed to be the only country buying coal from North Korea will slash its imports by some $700 million. North Korean exports to the end of 2016 will also be capped at $53.5 million.