The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted new sanctions against North Korea following its sixth nuclear test, imposing a cap on exports of crude oil to the country, though it fell short of a complete ban.
US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley, who proposed a virtual blockade of North Korea but agreed to the watered-down version after negotiations with China and Russian Federation, after the vote said that over 90 per cent of North Korea's exports were now banned when combined with earlier sanctions on iron ore, metals, seafood and coal exports.
Still, the revised draft resolution would cap shipments of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels a year while limiting crude oil exports to North Korea to current levels, the diplomat said.
The latest draft removes a call for a full oil embargo on the country and omits the freezing of assets and a call for a travel ban for North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un.
"If North Korea continues its unsafe path, we will continue with further pressure".
This will not only starve the regime of any revenues generated through such arrangements, it will now stop all future foreign investments and technology transfers to help North Korea's nascent and weak commercial industries, a U.S. fact sheet said.
Known for being the last stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vladivostok sits in the furthest reaches of Russia's far east, on a spit of land which hooks around China down to the Korean Peninsula.
Whether those provisions would remain in any resolution put to a vote Monday remained to be seen.
North Korea commemorated the 69th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, holding large patriotic displays of dancing and devotion to the Kim family.
"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the USA the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history". It also bans North Korean exports of textiles, a $726 million industry, and phases out North Korea's overseas labor program, which sends 93,000 North Koreans abroad to work in near slave conditions and send their pay back to the regime.
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McCain also stressed the importance of strengthening the nation's relations with its allies in the region including Japan and South Korea.
North Korean President Kim Jong Un thanked the scientists and technicians who took part in the regime's successful detonation of a nuclear device last week by holding a large gala in their honor, according to a report.
However on Tuesday some of China's major state-owned banks reportedly stopped providing financial services to new North Korean clients, in what could be a sign of increased sanctions enforcement to prevent any US retaliation. They say usually negotiators take time quietly behind the scenes to come up with these new sanctions. But the Trump administration is demanding a vote in six days.
On one hand an unpredictable United States president whose policy seems to shift from tweet to tweet and day to day.
"The choice is theirs", she added.
"We are facing not a regional but a global threat, not a virtual but an immediate threat, not a serious but an existential threat", Francois Delattre, the French envoy to the United Nations said after the vote. "Make no mistake about it, our firmness today is our best antidote to the risk of war, to the risk of confrontation, and our firmness today is our best tool for a political solution tomorrow", he said.
Before the resolution was voted, North Korea's official news agency quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying the country was "quite ready to use any ultimate means" to retaliate against the United States for the sanctions and claiming it had "near-to-completion nuclear capability".
Some British officials warned, in private, that if the original U.S. proposal went forward, this winter the North Koreans would be showing photographs of freezing children, and portraying the West as architects of a genocide.
North Korea had said the latest test was an advanced hydrogen bomb. But it was less the power of Washington, and more that of Beijing and Moscow, that was on display. Peru's envoy, Maria Antonia Masana Garcia, said North Korea's ambassador to her country would be considered persona non grata.