The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution to impose the most punishing sanctions yet against North Korea over its repeated defiance of a ban on testing missiles and nuclear bombs.
The resolution, intended to press North Korea to renounce its nuclear militarization, could reduce the isolated country’s already meager annual export revenue by $1 billion, or about a third of its current total.
Ambassador Nikki R. Haley of the United States, which introduced the resolution, said its adoption by all 15 Council members signified what she called “a strong, united step toward holding North Korea accountable for its behavior.”
Haley described the new penalties, which the United States painstakingly negotiated with China, North Korea’s most important trading partner, as “the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.” She also said they would give North Korea’s leaders “a taste of the deprivation they have chosen to inflict on the North Korean people.”
Before she walked into the Security Council chambers for the vote, Haley stopped and told reporters, “All this ICBM and nuclear irresponsibility has to stop.”
The measure’s unanimous approval was a diplomatic victory for the Trump administration and partly reflected growing impatience with North Korea by China, which historically has called relations between them as “close as lips and teeth.”
President Trump has repeatedly cajoled China to exert more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear belligerence.
Whether Trump’s badgering played any role in China’s support for the resolution is unclear. But its willingness to enforce the resolution’s provisions will be critical to its effectiveness.
China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, hinted at his country’s vexation with North Korea in his Security Council remarks after the vote. He urged the North Korean authorities to “cease taking actions that might further escalate tensions.”