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U.N. Security Council Imposes Tough Sanctions on North Korea

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously voted to impose tougher sanctions against North Korea for refusing to abandon its nuclear warhead and ballistic missile programs.

There were reports earlier Wednesday that Russia requested a delay in the vote, but the Washington Post describes the resolution as passing unanimously late Wednesday morning.

Fox News quotes Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, saying the U.S. had accommodated some of Russia’s concerns. He did not sound terribly broken up about the issues where agreement could not be reached, perhaps a sign that North Korea has exhausted the patience of its few allies.

“Have they accommodated all of our concerns? Not entirely. But you know, we are working for consensus of course. You never get everything you want,” Churkin shrugged.

The new resolution was developed through two months of negotiations between the U.S. and China, which generally protects North Korea from stern measures. The Chinese evidently went along with the new resolution after North Korea insultingly rebuffed their calls for nuclear and ballistic-missile restraint and possibly also because they are weary of the financial and diplomatic cost of protecting Pyongyang.

The new resolution is described as the toughest sanctions against North Korea in twenty years. “It mandates cargo inspections for all goods going in and out of North Korea by land, sea or by air, chokes off supplies of most aviation fuel for its armed forces and bans the sale of all small arms and conventional weapons to Pyongyang. It also prohibits transactions that raise hard cash for North Korea through sales of its natural resources such as gold, iron ore and titanium,” the Washington Post reports.

There is also an expanded blacklist of sanctioned individuals and institutions, a requirement for all countries to expel North Korean diplomats linked to sanctioned activities, a ban on specialized training for North Koreans that could advance their nuclear or ballistic missile programs, and even a provision that bars Pyongyang from sending tae kwon do instructors abroad to train foreign police forces.

Fox News adds that the resolution “bans Pyongyang from chartering vessels or aircraft, and call on countries to ‘de-register’ any vessel owned, operated or crewed by the North.” The Security Council also called for the resumption of six-party talks for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, which North Korea withdrew from in 2008.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power castigated the North Korean government for squandering money on banned weapons, instead of caring for its impoverished population.

“The chronic suffering of the people of North Korea is the direct result of the choices made by the DPRK government, a government that has consistently prioritized its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs over providing for the most basic needs of its own people,” said Power. “The North Korean government would rather grow its nuclear weapons program than grow its own children.”

Of course, the North Koreans are not happy about the prospect of stronger sanctions, using their state-run news agency to blast the U.N. resolution as a “wanton infringement on our sovereignty and grave challenge to it.”

The North Koreans also declared their allegedly peaceful “space exploration” plan would not be “given up because of someone’s sanctions.”

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