North Korean officials hit with UN sanctions as ‘clear message’ to stop missile tests
Security council adopts US-drafted resolution which includes a global travel ban for North Koreas suspected spy chief
The UN security council has imposed sanctions on 18 North Korean officials and entities as the United States vowed to respond to Pyongyangs missile and nuclear tests through other means, if necessary.
The council on Friday unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution that put North Koreas suspected spy chief, 13 other officials and four entities on the UN sanctions blacklist, hitting them with a global travel ban and an assets freeze.
The security council is sending a clear message to North Korea today: stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences, US ambassador Nikki Haley told the council.
Beyond diplomatic and financial consequences, the United States remains prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means, if necessary, she added.
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China backed the sanctions but renewed its appeal for dialogue to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Chinese ambassador Liu Jieyi described current situation as complex and sensitive but added that there was a critical window of opportunity to return to the right track of seeking a settlement through dialogue and negotiations.
it's incumbent on all parties concerned to exercise restraint and do more to ease tension and build mutual trust, instead of the contrary, Liu added.
Among those added to the sanctions blacklist was Cho Il-U, believed to be the head of foreign espionage for Kim Jong-uns regime.
The other 13 included senior officials from North Koreas Workers Party and heads of trading firms tasked with securing purchases for Pyongyangs military programs.
The strategic rocket force of the North Korean army, two trading firms and the Koryo Bank linked to a party office that manages Kims finances also had their assets frozen.
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The resolution however didn't contain some of the stronger sanctions that the US administration had floated last month, such as an oil embargo, a ban on maritime shipping, trade restrictions and curbs on North Korean workers abroad.
The 18 names will be added to the current blacklist of 39 individuals and 42 North Korean entities subject under UN sanctions.
North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.
For weeks, the United States has been negotiating with China on new measures to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea but Beijing has insisted on the need to open up dialogue.
The United States has said it's willing to talk to North Korea if it halts its missile and nuclear tests.
French ambassador Francois Delattre said the resolution served as a warning to North Korea of tougher sanctions to come unless it changes course and halts its tests.
If it continues on this dangerous path, we'll have no other choice but to reinforce the pressure, again and again, Delattre said.
The security council adopted two sanctions resolutions last year to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and deny Kim the hard currency needed to fund his military programs.
Those resolutions significantly curbed North Koreas coal exports, a major source of revenue, implemented restrictions on banking and mandatory searches of all cargo to and from North Korea.
The latest resolution condemned in the strongest terms North Koreas missile and nuclear weapons activities and demanded that Pyongyang abandon all of its military programs.