UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to pass a resolution being pushed by the United States that will deprive North Korea of $1 billion a year in revenue that helps fuel its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile program.
The move for additional sanctions came in response to Pyongyang's intercontinental ballistic missile launches July 3 and 28, which showed that the rogue nation might now have the capacity to bring the U.S. mainland and much of Europe into its cross hairs.
The provisions effectively deny Pyongyang of one-third of its annual $3 billion in exports revenue. Four export sectors are targeted in the resolution — coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood.
China urges North Korea cooperation
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is attending the ASEAN meeting in Manila, Philippines, met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of that regional meeting after the Security Council approved the sanctions. He said he urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by U.N. resolutions and stop provoking “the international community’s goodwill” with missile launches and nuclear tests.
He says he told Ri “do not violate the U.N. decision or provoke the international community’s goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests.”
The U.S. welcomed the news, but said it would be watching China closely to ensure it fully and continuously implements new U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of the resolution. The White House statement added that Trump will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilizing behavior.
The United States' U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the U.S. is "taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies" from the threat posed by North Korea, which she said was "rapidly growing more dangerous."
In two council resolutions adopted in March and November of last year, the council imposed export caps on coal, which is North Korea's single largest export.
"In this resolution, there is no cap, there is no allowable coal. All coal exports will stop, will be banned from export from North Korea," a council diplomat told VOA prior to the vote.
By removing that cap, the diplomat said there would immediately be a decrease of $400 million a year in North Korea's export revenue.
The iron and iron ore ban will deprive North Korea of an estimated $251 million this year. Lead and lead ore exports were expected to generate $113 million in revenue this year, and seafood was expected to bring in nearly $300 million.
The resolution also prohibits countries from accepting additional guest workers from North Korea. Pyongyang is notorious for sending its citizens to other countries to work and then confiscating much or all of their salaries, effectively making them slave labor.
The resolution also tightens the enforcement of existing sanctions. The council has imposed several rounds of increasingly tougher targeted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 for its nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
In addition to the sanctions, the resolution designates nine North Korean individuals and four entities for asset freezes and travel bans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.