by William M. Reilly
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The U.N. Security Council, in an exceptional session on Saturday, unanimously adopted a new resolution to impose new sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for ignoring previous resolutions and its recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
Resolution 2371 (2017), drafted by the United States, bans DRPK's exports of coal (DPRK's largest source of external revenue), iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.
Such measures will prevent the DPRK from earning over 1 billion U.S. dollars per year of hard currency that would be redirected to its illicit programs, according to the resolution.
The DPRK earns approximately 3 billion U.S. dollars per year from its exports. Additional sanctions target the DPRK's arms smuggling, joint ventures with foreign companies, banks, and other sources of revenue.
"This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package" ever leveled against Pyongyang, said Ambassador Nikki Haley of the United States, noting that the sanctions will lead to the loss of one-third of the DPRK exports and hard currency.
"This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation," said Haley.
The resolution reaffirmed previous sanctions forbidding launches using ballistic missile technology and nuclear tests. It designated several additional individuals for a travel ban and asset freeze, and also entities for asset freeze.
Meanwhile, the council sought resumption of the six-party talks aimed at verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The six parties are the DPRK, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
Ambassador Liu Jieyi of China said China "is opposed to the DPRK's launching activities which are in violation of council resolutions and which are in defiance of the will of the entire international community." China has always insisted on realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability there and in seeking a solution through dialogue and consultation, said Liu.
"China has always and firmly been opposed to chaos and conflict on the peninsula," he said, "In our view these in essence are what Resolution 2371 is all about. The fact that the council adopted this resolution unanimously demonstrates that the international community is united in its position regarding the nuclear issue of the peninsula."
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow understands the need to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. "We share the feeling of neighboring states in the region," he said.
He said the DPRK's ballistic missiles which were launched without warning "are posing a major risk to marine and air transit in the region as well as to the lives of ordinary civilians," while calling on Pyongyang to "end the banned programs and to return to the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) regime and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) oversight as well as to join the chemical weapons convention."
Meanwhile, "all must understand that progress toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be difficult so long as the DPRK perceives a direct threat to its home security," the Russian envoy noted, saying that it reflects how Pyongyang views "the military buildup in the region which takes on the form of frequent wide-ranging exercises/maneuvers of the U.S. and allies."
Another destabilizing factor in the region scaling up on Pyongyang "is the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), the U.S. anti-missile defense elements," he added, referring to the THAAD system installed in South Korea.
Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said Resolution 2371 showed the Security Council's condemnation of Pyongyang's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches that have since January 2016 considerably grown in both quantity and quality.
Ambassador Cho Tae-yul of South Korea urged Pyongyang to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which he said would not "offer insurance for its security," and to make efforts towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.