The United Nations Security Council has unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $US3 billion ($A3.
8 billion) annual export revenue over its two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.
The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.
It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean labourers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
“We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.
“Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies,” she said. Washington would continue annual joint military exercises with South Korea, Haley said.
North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.
China and Russia slammed US deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defence system in South Korea. China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment in place to be dismantled.
Liu also urged North Korea to “cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions.”
US President Donald Trump hailed the vote in a Twitter message on Saturday evening.
“The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” Trump wrote.
Trump “appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage” of the resolution, the White House said in a later statement.
The US president “will continue to work with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to ends its threatening and destabilising behaviour,” it said.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he hoped recent remarks by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “were sincere – that the US is not seeking to dismantle the existing situation or to forcibly unite the peninsula or to militarily intervene in the country.”
While the Security Council has been divided on how to deal with other international crises like Syria, the 15-member body has remained relatively united on North Korea. Still, negotiating new measures typically takes months, not weeks.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new measures came in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches.
The United States negotiated with China for a month on the resolution, then expanded negotiations to the full council on Friday.
Washington, frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, has threatened to exert trade pressure on Beijing and impose sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.
The new resolution bans North Korean exports of coal. In November, the Security Council capped the North’s coal exports at $US400 million annually. China, its largest buyer, halted imports in February.