UN Security Council tightens sanctions on North Korea


"It is incumbent on all member states of the United Nations to make every effort to ensure that these sanctions are fully implemented".

After the announcement of the new sanctions imposed on North Korea on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the sanctions are not meant to harm "normal trade" with the North Korea nor affect civilians.

State media said the warhead could be mounted on ballistic rockets and would enable North Korea to produce "a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power". Despite being the most heavily sanctioned state in the world, leader Kim Jong Un has continued to pursue its nuclear program.

In addition to coal, the Security Council banned North Korea from exporting certain metals including copper, silver, zinc and nickel that bring in an estimated $100 million a year, as well as statues and helicopters.

The news agency said that China is believed to be the only country that buys North Korean coal.

But the resolution was passed during a turbulent time in US and South Korean politics, raising questions about how effective measures will be until after President-elect Donald Trump takes office and makes his policies known. The challenge for US and its European allies on the Security Council was to persuade China, which remained the only country to import coal from North Korea and has been tired of drastic measures that would destabilize North Korea's economy, to go along.

China's trade with North Korea has been falling this year, some 13% from a year earlier according to data in May from the Korea International Trade Association.

First, the Philippines, a cornerstone of the united front, has backed off from the South China Sea arbitration strategy in particular and military coordination in general with the United States since the election of President Duterte, thereby complicating efforts to position the PRC as a renegade against the monolithic US-led global order.

The resolution places sanctions on several individuals in the North Korean regime.

Coal exports, mostly to China, are one of isolated North Korea's few big money makers.

Reacting to the Council's vote, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the resolution "sends an unequivocal message that the DPRK must cease further provocative actions and comply fully with its worldwide obligations".

China, a close ally of North Korea and major trade partner, said the sanctions struck a balance between punishing its neighbor while refraining from inflicting further suffering on its people.

The resolution for new sanctions against the nation came at least three months after it secretly conducted its fifth nuclear test.

China's exports of crude oil into North Korea is limited by Dandong oil pipeline authorities. But President-elect Donald Trump's erratic comments have made it hard to predict the incoming administration's North Korea policy - much less its wider plans for diplomacy.

The North Korean economy and senior officials are already under a raft of Security Council restrictions that have failed to deter the regime's nuclear ambitions.