The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, including restricting its oil imports and banning textile exports, to curb the reclusive nation's nuclear programme. The move comes in response to the sixth and largest nuclear test by North Korea on September 3. "Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. And today, the Security Council is saying that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear programme, we will act to stop it ourselves," US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said as the 15-member UN body yesterday passed the resolution on North Korea. "We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing. We are now acting to stop it from having the ability to continue doing the wrong thing," the Indian-origin diplomat said. She said the international community was doing that by hitting North Korea's ability to fund its weapons programme. The US had originally proposed harsher sanctions, including a total ban on oil imports by North Korea.
But the vote was passed only after Pyongyang allies Russia and China agreed to the reduced measures. Noting that oil "is the lifeblood" of North Korea's effort to build and deliver a nuclear weapon, Haley said the resolution reduces almost 30 per cent of oil provided to the North by cutting off over 55 per cent of its gas, diesel, and heavy fuel oil. "Today's resolution completely bans natural gas and other oil byproducts that could be used as substitutes for the reduced petroleum. This will cut deep," she said. Haley said these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea. "They give us a much better chance to halt the regime's ability to fuel and finance its nuclear and missile programmes. But we all know these steps only work if all nations implement them completely and aggressively," she said. When these new stronger sanctions are added to those passed last month, over 90 per cent of North Korea's publicly reported exports are now fully banned. Moreover, this resolution also puts an end to the regime making money from the 93,000 North Korean citizens it sends overseas to work and heavily taxes, she noted. This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional USD 500 million or more in annual revenues, she added. "Beyond the USD 1.3 billion in annual revenues we will cut from North Korea, new maritime authorities will help us stop them from obtaining funds by smuggling coal and other prohibited materials around the world by ship," Haley said. The resolution bans all North Korean textile exports. Textile exports - North Korea's largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted - earned North Korea an average of USD 760 million in the past three years. The resolution requires the end of all joint ventures with North Korea. This will not only starve the regime of any revenues generated through such arrangements, it will now stop all future foreign investments and technology transfers to help North Korea's nascent and weak commercial industries, according to a US factsheet.
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