UN Security Council Applies New Sanctions on North Korea

The comment comes as tensions have increased over North Korea's nuclear program following its latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on November 29th.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted fresh sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to the country's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

The new sanctions approved in the council resolution include sharply lower limits on North Korea's oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley votes among other members of the United Nations Security Council to impose new sanctions on North Korea, in NY, U.S., December 22, 2017.

Ahead of the council meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a unanimous vote would be important to send a clear message to Pyongyang that it must abandon its ambition to develop nuclear weapons.

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Speaking at the fifth Workers' Party cell chairs conference in Pyongyang the previous day, Kim reportedly said that the North has achieved the historic task of completing its nuclear force and urged the chairs to break down USA sanctions and do their best to realize the party's major tasks.

The United States has led the drive at the Security Council to tighten sanctions aimed at piling pressure on Kim's regime to come to the negotiating table. Refined oil product imports would be capped at 500,000 barrels a year. This represents a almost 90 percent ban of refined products, which are key to North Korea's economy, and a reduction from the 2 million barrels a year the council authorized in September.

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". Repatriation of its foreign workers may also cut down vital sources of foreign currency and investment to the country's market economy.

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

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