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United Nations slaps new sanctions on North Korea

23 December 2017

North Korea has repeatedly defied Security Council resolutions to halt its nuclear weapons and missile testing.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the USA mainland.

The new sanctions approved in the council resolution include sharply cutting limits on North Korea's imports of refined oil, forcing all North Koreans working overseas to return home within 24 months, and cracking down on shipping to and from the country.

Hailing the unity of the Security Council vote and referring to leader Kim Jong Un, Haley said that, "we will continue to match the Kim regime's choice of aggressive action with actions of global sanctions".

The council imposed an annual cap of two million barrels in September, and the new resolution calls for a further reduction to 500-thousand barrels for next 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.

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The resolution also bans exports of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to the DPRK.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the United Nations, said the move was a "significant ramping up" of sanctions against North Korea.

The sanctions proposed by the USA include capping exports of kerosene, gasoline and other refined petroleum products to North Korea at 500,000 barrels a year from January. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. China is also being called upon by the United States to limit its oil supply sent to its neighbor and ally. It would also add 19 new North Koreans to the United Nations sanctions blacklist.

On Friday, a spokesperson for North Korea's Foreign Ministry called U.S. President Donald Trump's recently released national security strategy the latest American policy seeking to "stifle our country and turn the entire Korean peninsula" into an outpost of American hegemony.

The forced repatriation of foreign workers would also cut off vital sources of foreign currency and investment not only for the government but also for North Korea's emerging market economy, he said.

United Nations slaps new sanctions on North Korea