The United Nations Security Council unanimously decided Friday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea for its latest ballistic provocation.
Resolution 2397, which was drafted by the U.S. in consultation with China, bans nearly 90 percent of the rogue regime’s refined petroleum imports, as well as sets new restrictions on other essential imports, such as heavy machinery.
The punitive resolution also demands the repatriation of North Korean workers abroad and puts greater pressure on North Korean shipping.
The newest resolution is in response to North Korea’s illegal test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in late November. The Hwasong-15 ICBM is the country’s most powerful long-range missile, with some experts claiming that the North demonstrated the theoretical ability to strike anywhere in the continental U.S. during its most recent test.
North Korea is already facing tough sanctions imposed in the wake of the two ICBM tests in July and the test of a suspected thermonuclear device — a hydrogen bomb — in early September. A former North Korean financial official has suggested that North Korea does not have the ability to survive the sanctions already in place.
Earlier sanctions cut off 90 percent of all North Korean exports, cutting North Korea’s total revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is striving to advance two development tracks simultaneously, pursuing both economic growth and nuclear weapons. Sanctions target the former while crippling funding for the latter.
While some prominent media outlets, such as NBC and the Washington Post, have argued that the sanctions are hurting the North Korean people, not the regime. These reports ignore the choices of North Korean leaders, who are really harming the North Korean people.
The representative from the United Kingdom at the U.N. stressed that the pain felt by the people is the result of the path its Pyongyang has chosen.
The decisions of the North Korean leaders have “set their country on a destructive path,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said at the vote, reminding the Security Council that the U.N. has asked North Korea to choose a peaceful path on nine different occasions only to have Pyongyang continue its hostility.
The new resolution “ratchets up the pressure even further,” Haley explained, stressing, “We cut deeper.”
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