UN Security Council steps up sanctions on defiant North Korea

Seoul –   UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to step up sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies capped, prompting traditionally defiant threat of retaliation against the U.S.

The decision, triggered by North’s sixth and largest nuclear test this month, was the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

Japan and South Korea on Tuesday said after the passage of the U.S.-drafted Security Council resolution that they were prepared to apply more pressure if North Korea refused to end its aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

A tougher initial U.S. draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which with veto power in the council.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the council after the vote that “we don’t take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today.

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“We are not looking for war and the North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return.

“If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future, if North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure.”

He credited a “strong relationship” between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping for successful resolution of negotiations.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and its main ally, the U.S., which it accuses of continual preparation for invasion.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s ambassador, Han Song, told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday that the U.S. was “fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation.

“My delegation condemns in the strongest terms, and categorically rejects, the latest illegal and unlawful UN Security Council resolution,” Song said. (Reuters/NAN)

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