North Korea hit with toughest-ever sanctions

The sanctions, imposed by the UN Security Council, would strip the country of more than $700 million.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea has been hit with the toughest sanctions "imposed on any country in a generation" in response to the two nuclear tests it conducted earlier this year.

The new sanctions by the United Nations Security Council target the country's top external revenue source, its coal exports.

North Korea will be restricted from exporting more than 7.5 million tonnes of coal in 2017, a reduction of 62 percent from 2015, under the new international restrictions imposed on Wednesday.

The resolution was spearheaded by the United States and came after negotiations with fellow veto-wielding council member China. It passed by a 15-vote.

China is North Korea's primary ally and one of the few markets for its coal.

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the resolution would strip North Korea of more than $700 million in hard currency, dramatically reducing the money it can spend on nuclear and ballistic weapons.

Speaking to reporters with her counterparts from US allies South Korea and Japan, she said the move marked "the strongest sanctions regime the Security Council has imposed on any country in more than a generation."

In addition to coal, the Security Council banned North Korea from exporting certain metals, including copper, silver, zinc and nickel, that bring in an estimated $100 million a year.

The Security Council also added 10 companies and 11 individuals --including the former North Korean ambassadors to Egypt and Myanmar -- to a blacklist under which their travel is restricted and assets frozen due to their alleged role in Pyongyang's military programs.

In another rare clause, the resolution threatens North Korea with some losses of diplomatic rights at the United Nations if it violates resolutions.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and missile tests.

TRTWorld and agencies