13 September, 2017
A U.S. official, familiar with the council negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity, said North Korea imported some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and 4 million barrels of crude oil.
"Oil is the lifeblood of North Korea's effort to build and fund a nuclear weapon", Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said at the Security Council on Monday.
A Sanctions Committee, which acts as a subsidiary of the Security Council, is tasked with implementing, monitoring and providing recommendations to the council on particular sanctions regimes.
The latest draft of the resolution reflects the challenge in imposing tough sanctions on the North by curbing its energy supply and singling out its leader for a financial and travel ban, a symbolic measure at best, but one that is certain to rile Pyongyang.
Nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council after the vote that "these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea".
An assessment by US officials has found that Russian smugglers have been shipping petroleum and other vital supplies to North Korea to help that country weather earlier rounds of economic sanctions, casting further doubt on whether financial measures alone can force Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons program.
How advanced is North Korea's nuclear programme? The country's foreign ministry issued a new, vague threat against the US should new sanctions be approved by the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. President Donald Trump has described the boosted sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council on Monday as "nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen". Japan, South Korea, and Guam, which are all USA allies, are within striking distance of North Korea.
"The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged".
She pointed out that the US does not want war, saying "North Korea has not yet passed the point of no return".
"North Korea is very sophisticated in concealing the fact that it is, indeed, doing business overseas". So for instance, while the USA wanted a total oil embargo, this resolution calls for a cap on oil exports to North Korea, cutting it, Haley says, by about 30 percent.
Targeting the North's sources of foreign currency, the resolution prohibits North Korea from exporting textiles and calls on United Nations members not to grant work permits for North Korean migrant workers. Nevertheless, ahead of the UN Security Council meeting, the country said that if the U.S. did eventually push through harsher sanctions, North Korea would "absolutely make sure that the U.S. pays due price".
To kick-start talks, China and Russian Federation have proposed a dual suspension of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile testing, as well as United States and South Korean military exercises.
Pyongyang has staged a series of missile tests in recent months that appeared to bring much of the U.S. mainland into range, followed by the Sept 3 nuclear blast.