NEW YORK CITY — The United Nations Security Council Saturday voted unanimously to slap major sanctions on North Korea in a major win for Trump’s hardline approach to China, and for U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley — who pulled a rabbit out of a hat in pressuring China and Russia to avoid using their veto power.
The U.S.-drafted resolution — which hits the rogue regime with sanctions on exports of iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood — was passed unanimously with 15 votes. The sanctions are predicted to slash North Korean exports by a third, costing them $1 billion a year. Neither Russia nor China used their power of veto — a key hurdle of negotiation.
“North Korea’s irresponsible and careless acts have just proved to be quite costly to the regime,” Haley said after the vote. “This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime.”
“We have taken a step forward, we have spoken with a unified voice that we are ready to act in an unprecedented way in response to North Korea’s reckless nuclear pursuit,” U.K. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said.
The resolution also freezes the assets of a number of banks and bank and business owners. Additionally, it bans the opening of “new joint ventures or cooperative entities” with North Korean entities.
The diplomatic efforts in the Security Council had once appeared dead. Despite two intercontinental ballistic missile launches, with the capacity to hit U.S. cities, both China and Russia seemed entirely opposed to further sanctions or military action.
At a Security Council emergency session after the first ICBM launch, Russia had expressed skepticism that the missile launched was an ICBM and had wagged the finger at the U.S. over its “warmongering.”
Last week, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said at a press conference that both sides should avoid “language and action that heightens tension on the Korean peninsula” and said that resolutions did not give the “green light” for an “economic blockade.”
The lack of support from China, in particular, triggered a furious response from the Trump administration, with President Trump blasting China as “just talk” on the issue, while Haley issued a furious statement saying that she had no intention of calling for an emergency session as “the time for talk is over.”
…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
“An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value,” she said. “In fact, it is worse than nothing, because it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him.”
In her remarks Saturday to the Security Council, Haley hailed the resolution as a win for the Council: “Today the full Security Council has come together to put the North Korean dictatorship on notice and this time the council has matched its words and actions.”
The resolution does contain some apparent catering to Chinese wishes. The resolution reaffirms calls for the resumption of the “Six Party Talks,” which would include North Korea, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. It also affirms that the sanctions are not intended to have “adverse humanitarian consequences” for civilians in North Korea.
However, while the resolution may be exactly what the U.S. had in mind, the new sanctions mark a significant escalation of pressure on North Korea by targeting some of their most vital exports.
Haley said the new resolution would slash by a third North Korea’s $3 billion export revenue and said she hoped it would send a message, although she warned it would only mark the first step.
“It is the continued suffering of the North Korean people that should remind the Security Council that while this resolution is a significant step forward, it is not nearly enough,” she said. “The threat of an outlaw nuclearized North Korean dictatorship remains.”
Calling Saturday a “good day for the UN,” she warned there would need to be “many more” such days to reduce the serious threat North Korea still poses.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY