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U.N. hits North Korea with new round of sanctions over nuclear program

The United Nations Security Council imposed fresh export sanctions on North Korea Wednesday in response to Pyongyang’s fifth and largest nuclear test.

The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution to reduce North Korea’s coal exports by about 60 percent, with an annual sales cap of $ 400.9 million. Coal is the country’s biggest export, and the sanctions are expected to cut Pyongyang’s export revenue by about 25 percent.

The resolution, drafted by the U.S., also bans exports of copper, nickel, silver and zinc.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said the Obama administration is realistic about the limits of the sanctions’ impact.

“No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons,” she said. “But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK regime for defying this council’s demands.”

The White House said the new sanctions will make it harder for North Korea to raise hard cash.

“We’ve made it even harder and applied even more economic pressure in those areas where we know that the North Koreans are using revenue to fund their nuclear program,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “I think this does send a clear signal about the resolve — not just of the United States and South Korea and Japan, but rather of countries around the world to compelling their North Korean government to come into compliance with their international obligations as it relates to their nuclear program.”

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles. Its latest, and largest, nuclear test was conducted on Sept. 9.

“Sanctions are only as effective as their implementation,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the security council. “It is incumbent on all member states of the United Nations to make every effort to ensure that these sanctions are fully implemented.”

Mr. Earnest said the sanctions were a result of weeks of “hard-nosed diplomacy” involving countries such as Russia and China, which is believed the be the only country buying North Korean coal.

“Putting in place this hard cap [on coal exports] and closing loopholes they had previously exploited to get around previous sanctions is a substantial development,” he said.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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