Trump Praises Latest UN Sanctions On North Korea

An F-35 fighter jet taxies out for a training mission at Hill Air Force Base

In November, North Korea demanded a halt to what it called "brutal sanctions", saying a round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept 3 constituted genocide.

But the resolution doesn't include even harsher sanctions sought by the Trump administration, such as prohibiting all oil imports and freezing the global assets of North Korea's government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

Tensions have escalated this year between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang's continued development of nuclear and ballistic weapons, with exchanges of bellicose rhetoric that have sparked fears about the risk of war.

On Friday (22 December) the US-drafted resolution was voted for by North Korea's main trading partner, China, and Russian Federation, a traditional ally of Pyongyang. The U.S. has repeatedly pushed China to curb oil sales to North Korea, with Ambassador Nikki Haley last month warning that "we can take the oil situation into our own hands" if China doesn't act.

North Korea uses refined oil products for taxis, generators and local heating, according to William Brown, an economist at Georgetown University who studies North Korea. That North Korea also has direct links to both China and Russian Federation, their main trading partners, also limits what a blockade could really do, beyond being a declaration of war.

South Korea welcomed the sanctions and called on the North to "immediately cease reckless provocations, and take the path of dialogue for denuclearization".

North Korea has slammed US President Donald Trump's new national security strategy as a "criminal document", renewing the war of words between the two nations.

The resolution would require for the first time that all nations declare the total amount of refined products shipped to North Korea.

In the document, announced on Monday, Trump said Washington had to deal with the challenge posed by North Korea's weapons programmes.

The resolution caters to China's concern that if all crude oil were cut off it could prompt Kim to lash out at the US, sparking a conflict or setting off internal dissent that precipitates the collapse of his regime.

Besides putting limitations on energy, export and import sectors, the UNSC also imposed a ban on North Korean exports of food products, machinery and industrial and electrical equipment, news agency ANI reported.

Russia quietly boosted economic support for North Korea this year, and last week Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Moscow was not ready to sign up to sanctions that would strangle the country economically.

During a series of conversations with troops, the topic of North Korea was mentioned, the Associated Press reported.

To try to reduce smuggling and ship-to-ship transfers of North Korean coal and other banned goods, the measure says countries can "seize, inspect, freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports" if there are grounds to believe the vessel was used to transport banned items.

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