Live

Watch CBSN Live

U.N. imposes tough new sanctions against North Korea

New N. Korea sanctions

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to latest ballistic missile it says can reach the U.S.

"It sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishment and isolation," U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said of the new resolution after the vote Friday.

The resolution adopted by all 15 council members Thursday doesn't go as far as the toughest-ever sanctions that have been sought by the Trump administration, such as prohibiting all oil imports and freezing international assets of North Korea's government and its leader, Kim Jong Un. 

But it is a sign that China has come around to ratcheting up of pressure on Pyongyang, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports from the U.N. The unanimous passage shows that Beijing is working with Washington to increase economic pressure on the North Korean regime in response to its nuclear program.

The resolution caps North Korea's crude oil imports at 4 million barrels a year and limits its imports of refined oil products, including diesel and kerosene, to 500,000 barrels a year. That would be a nearly 90 percent cut in imported fuels that are key to North Korea's economy.

What is North Korea's end game with its nuclear program?

It also prohibits the export of food products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stones, wood and vessels from North Korea. Countries are also banned from exporting industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to the country. The resolution will likely result in a significant decrease of income for the North Korean regime. 

The proposed sanctions are the Security Council's response to North Korea's test on Nov. 29 of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet, which the government said is capable of hitting anywhere on the U.S. mainland. It was North Korea's 20th launch of a ballistic missile this year and added to fears that the North will soon have a nuclear arsenal that can viably target the U.S. mainland.

The United States drafted the resolution and reportedly negotiated it with China before circulating the final text to the rest of the council. The last sanctions resolution was adopted Sept. 11 in response to North Korea's sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion eight days earlier.

Haley said the Trump administration believed the new sanctions imposed at that time combined with previous measures would ban over 90 percent of North Korea's exports reported in 2016.

Those sanctions prohibited North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates. It also banned all textile exports and prohibited any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers -- two key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

The U.S. Mission said then that a cutoff on new work permits would eventually cost North Korea about $500 million a year once current work permits expire. The United States estimated about 93,000 North Koreans are working abroad, a U.S. official said.

The resolution also bans North Koreans from working abroad. It expresses concern that the foreign earnings from these workers are being used to support the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It also requires all countries to send North Korean workers and safety monitors home within 24 months.

The draft resolution "notes with great concern" that North Korea is illegally exporting coal and other prohibited items "through deceptive maritime practices and obtaining petroleum illegally through ship-to-ship transfers."

The resolution authorizes U.N. member states to seize, inspect, and impound any ship in its ports or territorial waters suspected of being involved in these illegal activities. It would also order all countries to prohibit companies from providing insurance or reinsurance to North Korean-affiliated vessels.

The move also requires all countries to de-register any vessel suspected of being involved in the transport or transfer of banned items. And it bans the supply of used vessels to North Korea and adds 15 individuals to the U.N. sanctions blacklist.

Thirteen of those who face travel bans and asset freezes are foreign bank representatives. The other two are Kim Jong Sik, identified as a leading official guiding North Korea's development of weapons of mass destruction, and Ri Pyong Chul, an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea and first vice director of the Munitions Industry Department.

Like the previous sanctions resolution, the new vote reiterates the Security Council's regret at North Korea's "massive diversion of its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of expensive ballistic missile programs." It notes that 41 percent of the population is undernourished.

The resolution calls for a resumption of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program aimed at the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. It reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia and "expresses its commitment to a peace, diplomatic and political solution to the situation ... through dialogue."