New York, March 3: In response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch by North Korea, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea. The 15-member council last night passed a resolution drafted by the United States and backed by China, Pyongyang's sole ally. The sanctions took aim at North Korean exports and set up inspections of all cargo to and from the reclusive country. US President Barack Obama welcomed the sweeping measures as a firm, united, and appropriate response to the January 6th nuclear test and Feb 7th rocket launch.Amid new developments, North Korea today fired several short-range projectiles into the sea, South Korea's Defence Ministry said. A South Korean spokesman told the Yonhap news agency the projectiles were fired this morning from Wonsan on the east coast, media agencies reported.
Among the unprecedented measures is a new requirement that all countries must inspect cargo destined for and coming from North Korea, in all airports and sea ports. The resolution provides for a ban or severe restrictions on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea, and prohibits the supply.
The resolution tightens an arms embargo by banning sales of small arms and bars vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports. Under the measure, UN member states will expel North Korean diplomats engaged in smuggling or other illegal activities. A total of 16 individuals and 12 entities were added to a UN sanctions blacklist, including North Korea's NADA space agency and its spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, media agencies reported.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this firm response by the Security Council should put an end to the cycle of provocation and lead to the resumption of dialogue. It took seven weeks of tough negotiations for the United States and China to come to agreement on the package of measures, but its impact will depend largely on how Beijing implements the sanctions.