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07 August 2017, 12:53 | Leigh Flowers
China's support for sweeping sanctions on North Korea under a new United Nations Security Council resolution show Beijing recognizes the gravity of the threat of Pyongyang's nuclear program and missile tests, a top US official said on Sunday, Reuters reports.
The goal is to halt North Korea's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles capable of striking the US and elsewhere, a mission given added urgency after two intercontinental ballistic missile tests occurred in July.
The 15-member council agreed to impose a new set of sanctions against Pyongyang that are expected to cut one-third of North Korea's export revenue in response to two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.
But the draft resolution would ban all exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood.
Coal revenues accounted for around 40% of North Korea's export earnings in 2016, at a value of nearly USD1.2 billion, according to the US Energy Administration. This year, Pyongyang was estimated to earn $251 million from iron and iron ore exports, $113 million from lead and lead ore exports, and $295 million from fish and seafood exports, the diplomat said.
The resolution represents "the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test", the statement said. "The ball is in North Korea's court".
When asked about the proposal, Haley told reporters that US-South Korean military exercises are transparent and have been going on for 40 years, and that it is now up to North Korea to stop its activity before the six-party talks can resume.
Both China and Russian Federation voted in favor of the sanctions and the Los Angeles Times reported that on Saturday night the White House said in a statement that the president "appreciates" their cooperation and added that diplomatic avenues are still being pursued.
In addition, the sanctions place nine individuals and four entities on the United Nations blacklist, including a global asset freeze and travel ban on North Korea's primary foreign exchange bank.
North Korea has already faced a decade's worth of ever-increasing sanctions backed by the US and its allies.
US President Donald Trump commended the United Nations council on passing the sanctions, the White House said late Saturday in a statement. It also imposes an asset freeze on two companies and two banks.
Though the economic sanctions have teeth, Washington didn't get everything it wanted.
He added that while the recalcitrant state seems to be under the delusion that its nuclear and missile programs will ensure its security, they will only serve to strengthen the resolve of the worldwide community. "It was not a good day for North Korea".
China has always insisted on realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability there and seeking a solution through dialogue and consultation.
Negotiations for the new resolution began after Pyongyang conducted its first test of an ICBM on July 4.
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