UN SC toughens sanctions against North Korea

Report that North Korean defector has anthrax antibodies feeds into biological weapons scare

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions on North Korea today in response to the latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the USA mainland.

Our Park Jong-hong has the following report.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un on Friday said his country has achieved rapid development in strategic weaponry and poses "substantial nuclear threat to the US", state news agency reported.

According to the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, "It (the resolution) sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation".

"If they were enforced, the cap on oil would be devastating for North Korea's haulage industry, for North Koreans who use generators at home or for productive activities, and for [state-owned enterprises] that do the same", said Peter Ward, a columnist for NK News, a website that tracks North Korea.

The proposal would limit crude oil imports to 4 million barrels per year. Also included in the sanctions was a ban on exports of North Korean goods.

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Asked about the effects of sanctions before these latest proposals were announced, Michael Kirby, who led a United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea, said cutting off fuel imports would be "a very serious step".

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 has repeatedly defied Security Council resolutions to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing.

The resolution does not halt the supply of crude oil from China to North Korea, even though the U.S. strongly pressured China to halt such shipments.

The UN'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. It would also add 19 new North Koreans to the United Nations sanctions blacklist. Repatriation of its foreign workers may also cut down vital sources of foreign currency and investment to the country's market economy.

The U.S. Mission said a cutoff on new work permits would eventually cost North Korea about $500 million a year once current work permits expire.

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