The United States presented a draft Security Council resolution on Thursday that would impose unprecedented sanctions on North Korea after its Jan. 6 nuclear tests, the US envoy to the UN has said.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told reporters the new measures, if approved, would be "the strongest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades."
Power added that the measures were aimed at the country's leadership, and were "careful not to punish the North Korean people."
If adopted, the resolution would for the first time subject all cargo passing through UN member states territory to or from North Korea to mandatory inspection, Power said. Additionally, all weapons imports and exports will be banned.
The draft bans the transfer to North Korea of any item that could directly contribute and be modified for military purposes such as trucks.
Among other provisions in the draft are blacklisting of more North Korean individuals and entities including the National Aerospace Development Agency (NADA), the body responsible for February’s rocket launch and bans on the transfer to the country of aviation and rocket fuel.
"These sanctions - if adopted - would send an unambiguous and unyielding message to the [North Korean] regime: the world will not accept your proliferation; there will be consequences for your actions, and we will work relentlessly and collectively to stop your nuclear program," Power said.
The United States used the nearly two months of bilateral negotiations that at one point involved President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, diplomats said, to win China's support for unusually tough measures intended to persuade its ally North Korea to abandon its atomic weapons program.
It was not immediately clear when the draft resolution would be put to a vote in the Council. A Saturday meeting is predicted by several council diplomats to adopt the draft but Russian deputy UN ambassador Petr Iliichev said Moscow needed time to study the draft and the earliest likely vote would be next week. The draft was the result of seven weeks of tough negotiations between the United States and China, North Korea's neighbour and main ally.
Observes fear the advanced technology could be used in the military program of the reclusive state. Last month, Pyongyang conducted its fourth underground nuclear test.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 because of its multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches. In addition to a UN arms embargo, Pyongyang is banned from importing and exporting nuclear and missile technology and is not allowed to import luxury goods.
It's been seven weeks since the North's Jan. 6 nuclear test, which was followed by a Feb. 7 rocket launch.
In its annual report to Congress on North Korea’s military capabilities, the Pentagon, Pyongyang's efforts to build "a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile" would have the capacity of reaching US territories.