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UN Security Council steps up sanctions against North Korea over nuclear test

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 12-09-2017 By Our Foreign Staff

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The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, imposing a ban on the country's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member council since 2006 over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. 

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The United States, which had proposed banning all oil imports to the Asian country, watered down an initial tougher draft resolution to win the support of Pyongyang ally China and Russia. 

Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, welcomed the resolution. "The international community has shown it is united against the illegal and reckless acts by the North Korean regime. By adopting these new measures, we have the most stringent UN sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century.      

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“This resolution will curtail gas, petrol and oil imports. It will ban all textile exports, taking hundreds of million dollars from the export revenues that the North Korean regime uses to fund its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. And it will end the exploitation of DPRK labourers abroad.  

“The North Korean regime bears full responsibility for the measures that the UN Security Council has enacted today. It is their continued, illegal and aggressive actions that have brought us to this point, and it is North Korea that must change its course.”

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said the United States was not looking for war with North Korea, and that Pyongyang had "not yet passed the point of no return."

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"If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it," she told the UN Security Council after the council adopted the new sanctions.

"Today's resolution would not have happened without the strong relationship that has developed between President Trump and Chinese President Xi," Haley said. 

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totalling $752 million, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Nearly 80 percent of the textile exports went to China.

The resolution imposes a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products, and a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels. China supplies most of North Korea's crude.

A US official said North Korea imports some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and 4 million barrels of crude oil.

The resolution to be voted on represented a swift response to the recent nuclear test explosion by North Korea, which has said was a hydrogen bomb, and to Pyongyang's escalating launches of increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles that it says can reach the United States.

But the provisions were a significant climb-down from the toughest-ever sanctions that the Trump administration proposed in the initial draft resolution it circulated last Tuesday, especially on oil. A complete ban on oil sales could have crippled North Korea's economy.

Slideshow: North Korea's nuclear test (GES)

Pyongyang city civilians celebrate the successful completion of the hydrostatic test for the intercontinental ballistic rocket installation in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 6, 2017. North Korea's nuclear test

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