United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea

The resolution, which dramatically expands existing sanctions, follows the North’s fourth nuclear test on January 6 and a long-range rocket launch on February 7, which the United States and South Korea said violated existing Security Council resolutions.

The sanctions under the new resolution are due to affect multiple sectors of North Korea’s economy, making all cargo entering and leaving the country subject to inspection and limiting or prohibiting the nation’s export of coal, iron, gold, titanium and rare natural minerals.

Ahead of the exercises, 3,200 troops of the Third Marine Division of the U.S. Marine Corps arrived in the port city of Busan from Okinawa, Japan, in preparation for the training.

The hard blow also means that the inter-Korean tension will continue to escalate, with the South tightening surveillance on the North’s military actions and the North lashing back at what it sees as an unwarranted interference.

“The North Korean military fired six short-range projectiles from Wonsan, Gangwon Province, at around 10 a.m. today”, ministry spokesperson Moon Sang-gyun said in a press briefing. In 2015, the isolated country spent $876,627 importing 1,414 tonnes of Chinese jet fuel according to Chinese customs data – enough for North Korea to operate its fleet of largely Soviet-era military aircraft.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Pyongyang to refrain from any fresh provocations, while Tokyo’s ambassador to the UN, Motohide Yoshikawa, stressed that “the heart of the matter now is implementation” of the sanctions by China, North Korea’s largest trading partner, and other countries.

Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the United Nations headquarters in NY, said the new sanctions resolution was trying to deal with some of the loopholes North Korea has used in the past.

Ayrault also called on the DPRK to immediately comply with its global obligations and to “conduct the outright, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear and missile programs”.

Other clauses include humanitarian aid to North Koreans and inter-Korean discussion on human rights.

“The global community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these risky programs and choose a better path for its people”, President Barack Obama said in a statement.

A senior Western diplomat in Beijing who declined to be identified said China remains wary of cutting off North Korea completely, and insists ordinary North Koreans should not be punished for the behaviour of their leader.

The official North Korean news agency KCNA said on Monday the proposed sanctions were “a wanton infringement on [North Korea’s] sovereignty and grave challenge to it”.

North Korea has a history of firing weapons from its prodigious arsenal when angered at global condemnation.

“It pains all of us to think about how the regime has been developing weapons while people were starving, how the human potential has been wasted away in North Korea”, Oh said. It said the sanctions would not result in the country’s collapse or prevent it from launching more rockets.

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