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UN Security Council approves new North Korea sanctions

14 September 2017

"The Chinese side will never allow conflict or war on the peninsula", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Tuesday.

USA ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday at the United Nations the tough new measures were a message to Pyongyang that "the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea". "We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing" and now are instead taking steps to prevent it "from doing the wrong thing".

On a recent visit to the Chinese border with North Korea, several Chinese traders told Reuters the Chinese government is strictly enforcing United Nations sanctions to the point that some businesses that rely on trade with North Korea have already gone bankrupt or traders have had to start trading in non-sanctioned goods.

Though Beijing shares the United States opposition to North Korea's nuclear weapons and repeated calls for denuclearization, its fear of instability on the border carries higher priority. "But further upriver, where press intrusion and interest tends not to be there, we haven't seen the same degree of energetic enforcement". North Korea has threatened that if harsher sanctions are approved, the USA will pay "a due price".

Kim Jong-un might worry about his own dictatorship's survival chances, but he also needs to develop North Korea to maintain legitimacy.

But even if the plan isn't vetoed by China and Russian Federation today (which is probable), it's highly unlikely that Pyongyang will give up its hard-won nuclear capabilities to resume oil imports. It still proposes a ban on textile exports.

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It bars countries from issuing new work permits to North Korean laborers sent overseas and seeks to phase out the practice by asking countries to report on the date for ending existing contracts.

The US official said the ban on textile exports would deprive North Korea of some $726 million in annual revenue.

Speaking on Monday, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said North Korea's nuclear arsenal was "the biggest challenge to our foreign affairs and security front and will continue to be so for many years to come". It would eliminate a longtime, troublesome opponent, erase a Chinese buffer state, strengthen Washington's ally, the Republic of Korea, and expand USA containment of Beijing.

The initial US resolution had included a ban on oil exports to North Korea, which would have severely crippled the isolated nation's economy, and a freeze on the personal assets of its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Among the many strides North Korea has made in its development of nuclear weapons it can add another disquieting distinction: the precedent it's set for other rogue states who covet nuclear weapons.

North Korea Tuesday categorically rejected the new measures, with United Nations ambassador Han Tae-Song saying in Geneva that the USA had "fabricated the most vicious sanction resolution" and warning of retaliation.

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The heightened tension could have a substantial impact on South Korea's economy and could also disrupt trade between the United States and China, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday.

"The North Korean regime bears full responsibility for the measures that the U.N. Security Council has enacted today", he added. What can be done differently this time to finally solve the North Korea nuclear crisis - or is it too late to reach a solution given how far North Korea has succeeded?

Chinese UN ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later".

The North Korean government does not provide foreign media with a contact point in Pyongyang for comment by email, fax or phone.

Haley further addressed the North Korean regime directly, saying it is not too late to change course.

With India, Russia and Pakistan already nuclear powers, not to mention the US, China may end up with more nuclear armed neighbours than any other country in the world.

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"While it gives the president great flexibility and a great opportunity in communicating to North Korean leaders and to the North Korean population as well as the rest of the world", Nicholas Eberstadt, a Korea expert with the American Enterprise Institute, told VOA's Korean Service, "it also puts an unusual premium on the credibility of his actions that would seem to be associated with his comments".

UN Security Council approves new North Korea sanctions