North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Picture: REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Picture: REUTERS

New York — The UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday aimed at cutting the Asian country’s annual export revenue by a quarter in response to Pyongyang’s fifth and largest nuclear test in September.

The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution to slash North Korea’s biggest export, coal, by about 60%, with an annual sales cap of $400.9m, or 7.5-million tonnes, whichever is lower.

The US-drafted resolution also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports — and the sale of statues.

Pyongyang is famous for building huge, socialist-style statues, which it exports mainly to African countries.

The US was realistic about what the new sanctions on North Korea would achieve, the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, told the council after the vote.

"No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the regime for defying this council’s demands," she said.

"In total, this resolution will slash by at least $800m per year the hard currency that [North Korea] has to fund its prohibited weapons programmes, which constitutes a full 25% [of its] entire export revenues."

That $800m is 6.5 times the amount the World Food Programme said it needed in 2016 to fund its North Korean operations, or 1.2-million tonnes of rice at market prices. North Korea needs 5.2-million tonnes of rice annually to meet its stated target of providing people with 573g of rice a day.

A South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said South Korea welcomed the new resolution and would pursue additional unilateral sanctions against North Korea with the US and Japan. North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006.

Reuters

North Korea conducts a fifth nuclear test, setting off a blast more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War Two, and drawing strong opposition from global leaders.
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North Korea conducts largest nuclear test to date - North Korea conducts a fifth nuclear test, setting off a blast more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War Two, and drawing strong opposition from global leaders. Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

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