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Would be devastating for North Korea’s haulage industry, says experts

Amidst it failure to convince international community on its Jerusalem move, US policy towards North Korea was supported by most countries at United Nations Security Council on Friday when it voted unanimously in favor of tough sanctions against Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council resolution was passed in response to North Korea’s last month’s launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang claims to be capable of reaching anywhere on the US mainland.

The sanctions will cut oil supplies, with nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to North Korea will be banned, with a cap of 500,000 barrels a year, crude oil supplies would be capped at 4 million barrels a year. North Koreans working abroad, a source of foreign currency, will be repatriated within 24 months.

Japan’s ambassador to the UN Koro Bessho said that the UN Security Council voted 15 to 0 to pass the resolution. Japan holds the presidency of the Security Council this month. Bessho has served as ambassador in Pyongyang earlier.

Under the latest resolution, the UN Security Council has authorized all countries to seize, inspect, freeze and impound ships suspected of carrying illegal cargo to and from North Korea. This is aimed to prevent Pyongyang from circumventing sanctions.

After voting at the world body, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley said, “[The resolution] sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation.”  US had warned Kim Jong Un last month that it would be “utterly destroyed” if war were to break out.

French Ambassador Francois Delettre said, “This resolution bites” that increases pressure on Pyongyang. He further said “Maximum firmness today is our best antidote to the risk of war.”

But on December 21, the North Korean leader had asserted that his country had “rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the US”.

Earlier on November 29, North Korea said that its Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test was a “breakthrough” that puts the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

But at the same time Pyongyang called for a halt to the “brutal sanctions” saying the earlier sanctions imposed on September 3 constituted genocide. Pyongyang argues that its weapons programs are necessary to counter US aggression.

On Friday North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesperson called new US National Security Strategy (NSS) as the latest US policy seeking to “stifle our country and turn the entire Korean peninsula” into an outpost of US hegemony.

According to North Korea Times, Peter Ward, a columnist for NK News, a website which monitors country’s media,  has said, “If they (UN resolutions) were enforced, the cap on oil would be devastating for North Korea’s haulage industry, for North Koreans who use generators at home or for productive activities, and for (state-owned enterprises) that do the same.”

He further said that forced repatriation of Koreans working abroad would also cut of vital sources of foreign currency and investment not only for the government but for the emerging economy of the country.

China which supplies most of North Korea’s oil has supported successive rounds of UN sanctions but had resisted past US calls to cut off supplies to its neighbour. However, US President Donald Trump, during his Beijing visit last month, had once again tried to convince Chinese leadership on its North Korea policy but failed to get any commitment from his counterpart Xi Jinping.

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