UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy following the launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U.S.
“We believe maximum pressure today is the best antidote to the risk of war,” Francois Delattre, France’s ambassador to the U.N., told reporters on his way in to the Security Council chambers. “The case of North Korea is getting more serious with each passing day.”
Specifically, the new resolution cuts deliveries of products including diesel and kerosene by almost 90 percent, to the equivalent of 500,000 barrels per year starting Jan. 1. In September, the council had already demanded imports to be cut to 2 million barrels from 4.5 million barrels. The new resolution would also cap crude imports at current levels of about 4 million barrels annually.
To try to reduce smuggling and ship-to-ship transfers of North Korean coal and other banned goods, the measure says countries can “seize, inspect, freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports” if there are grounds to believe the vessel was used to transport banned items. The measure also prohibits insurance for all North Korean-affiliated vessels.
North Korea has repeatedly defied Security Council resolutions to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing. The U.N.’s top envoy to North Korea, Jeffrey Feltman, said this month that he was “deeply worried” about the prospects of a diplomatic solution to the crisis after meeting officials in Pyongyang.