One day after the UN humiliated Donald Trump, when 128 nations voted for a UN resolution demanding the US president revoke his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, on Friday Trump scored a significant victory at the same venue – his third of the day after signing off on the tax and stopgap bills – when the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions targeting North Korea’s economy after the latest launch of a ballistic missile last month that Kim Jong Un’s regime said shows it can now target the entire continental U.S.
The new restrictions are meant to slash North Korea’s imports of refined petroleum products, further restrict shipping and impose a 12-month deadline for expatriate North Korean workers to be sent home, according to Bloomberg. “Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country,” the NY Times added. “Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.”
While the resolution against Pyongyang – the 4th in 13 months – seeks to create an energy blockade of Pyongyang, capping exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea at 500,000 barrels a year banning nearly 90% of refined oil product to the country, it is particularly notable because it saw both China and Russia vote alongside the US, after the two nations previously snubbed similar US-backed proposals at the UN. The two nations’ supported the US-backed proposal a week after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called out Russia and China for their support of Kim Jong Un’s regime. Separately, crude oil exports will be limited to 4 million barrels a year.
“We believe maximum pressure today is the best antidote to the risk of war,” Francois Delattre, France’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters on his way in to the Security Council chambers. “The case of North Korea is getting more serious with each passing day.”
As Bloomberg also adds, to reduce smuggling and ship-to-ship transfers of North Korean coal and other banned goods, the measure says countries can “seize, inspect, freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports” if there are grounds to believe the vessel was used to transport banned items. The measure also prohibits insurance for all North Korean-affiliated vessels.
The new resolution was drafted by the US in response to the most resent ballistic missile test conducted by Pyongyang on November 29. North Korea said it was a new type of ICBM, the Hwasong 15, which can hit all of the US mainland. The US military dismissed the claim, with Defense Secretary James Mattis stating, “It has not yet shown to be a capable threat against us right now.”
“It (the resolution) sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation,” Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, said following the vote.
While North Korea has yet to respond officially to the new sanctions, the last time the UN lashed out at the rogue state, Kim Jong-Un promptly fired several ballistic missiles in response. Should the current UN resolution lead to a similar reaction, it could be particularly problematic as North Korea now has, as experts claims, a means of reaching anywhere on the continengal US, and in the process could launch the global conflict known as the third iteration of the world war…