The United Nations Security Council voted to impose the toughest-ever sanctions on North Korea following its recent nuclear bomb test and rocket launch, which was viewed by many as a covert missile test. The U.S. also blacklisted two of Pyongyang's top government bodies to increase pressure on the regime to drop its nuclear weapons program.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270, significantly tightening the screws on the communist nation that sparked global outrage with its fourth nuclear test on January 6 and its long-range missile launch on February 7 in violation of U.N. bans.
It is the fifth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the North. The previous resolutions were adopted after the North's first nuclear test in 2006, its second nuclear test in 2009, its long-range rocket launch in late 2012 and its third nuclear test in early 2013.
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe showed his support to the resolution immediately after the adoption and he strongly urged North Korea not to conduct further nuclear tests and rocket launches, Xinhua reported.
It also empowers the inspection of cargo ships going to and from North Korea. South Korea's Defense Ministry thinks the projectiles could be missiles, artillery or rockets.
The U.N. resolution that brought about the sanctions aims to cripple the economic factors that fuel North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
And it came just hours after the United Nations announced what have been described as the strictest sanctions imposed on North Korea in 20 years.
Intense US lobbying on the new sanctions included a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to Beijing, where his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi stressed that new sanctions should not hurt North Korean citizens or raise tensions.
South Korea will also "further step up efforts in forging cooperation with the global community in making North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way".
"You can't determine which part of the mineral trade is related to people's livelihoods or not", said Choi Kyung-soo, head of the North Korea Resources Institute in Seoul, who made dozens of trips to North Korean state mines between 2001 and 2008 as part of an inter-Korean cooperation team.
There was no immediate reaction from the North Korean U.N. mission. That requires the freezing of assets and, in the case of individuals, a travel ban as well.
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's list of explicitly banned luxury goods has been expanded to include luxury watches, aquatic recreational vehicles, snowmobiles worth more than $2,000, lead crystal items and recreational sports equipment.