Published: Sat, December 23, 2017
Money | By Michele Stevens

UN whacks fresh sanctions on North Korea

UN whacks fresh sanctions on North Korea

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on new sanctions for North Korea after the country test-fired a missile it claims can strike the whole USA mainland.

Tensions have been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

The resolution seeks to ban almost 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea by capping them at 500,000 barrels a year and, in what diplomats said was a last-minute change, demands the repatriation of North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, instead of 12 months as first proposed.

North Korea's test on November 29 of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet was its 20th launch of a ballistic missile this year, and added to fears that the North will soon have a military arsenal that can viably target the USA mainland.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy South Korea, the United States and Japan, and says its weapons programs are necessary to counter USA aggression.

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That will reduce the flow of fuel from a previous ceiling set by the council of two million barrels a year.

The proposal would limit crude oil imports to 4 million barrels per year.

Tens of thousands of North Koreans have been sent to Russian Federation and China to earn revenue for Pyongyang, working in what United Nations rights officials have described as "slave-like conditions".

A total of 16 North Korean officials, most of whom work in banking, were added to the United Nations sanctions blacklist along with the North Korean ministry of the people's armed forces, which manages logistics for the army.

"We believe maximum pressure today is our best lever to a political and diplomatic solution tomorrow".

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However, for the first time the resolution clearly states that North Korea will see its oil supply further restricted if it conducts more nuclear tests, or launches more ballistic missiles.

US President Donald Trump's new national security strategy is a "criminal document" that seeks the "total subordination of the whole world to the interests of the US", North Korea's foreign ministry says.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the vote that "the unity this council has shown in leveling these unprecedented sanctions is a reflection of the global outrage at the Kim regime's actions".

The council has also banned exports of North Korean coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and restricted joint ventures.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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