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UN Security Council Passes U.S.-China Resolution on North Korea

The UN Security Council today unanimously passed a resolution penned by the United States and China to expand sanctions on North Korea.

In addition to broadening the list of people and entities subject to sanctions, the resolution stipulates that countries accepting cargo from North Korea or heading to the reclusive country will have to inspect all shipments. New banned items include luxury swag that Kim Jong-un enjoys.

Under the resolution, North Korea is not supposed to use any revenue from energy sales to fund its nuclear program. This would be nearly impossible to enforce, and Pyongyang is notorious for thumbing its nose at UNSC resolutions.

The Security Council began negotiations a few weeks ago on “measures in response to these dangerous and serious violations” of North Korea’s latest missile launch.

President Obama said in a statement that the resolution “imposes significant costs on the DPRK in response to its January 6 nuclear test and February 7 missile launch.”

“This resolution levies strong new sanctions aimed at halting Pyongyang’s efforts to advance its weapons of mass destruction programs,” Obama said. “I have consistently said that the DPRK would face consequences for its actions, and I welcome this resolution as a firm, united, and appropriate response by the international community to the DPRK’s recent provocations that flagrantly violated multiple Security Council resolutions.”

“Today, the international community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people.”

Secretary of State John Kerry said that “with this resolution we renew our collective resolve to take concerted action to counter this threat posed by North Korea’s proscribed programs and proliferation activities worldwide.”

“This resolution contains the toughest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades, and includes mandatory cargo inspections, sectoral sanctions on North Korean trade in natural resources, and other rigorous provisions unprecedented in the North Korean sanctions regime,” Kerry declared. “Today’s action, and the international consensus it represents, will hold the regime to account for its increasingly provocative behavior and the threat it poses to not only security on the peninsula, but also to the world.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), whose bipartisan North Korea sanctions bill was signed by Obama last month, called the UN vote “an important step away from hollow rhetoric and toward realistic diplomacy to reach the shared goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”

“As I said last month as the Senate was poised to pass my bipartisan DPRK sanctions bill, it is time to take seriously this rogue state living in its own false reality,” Menendez said. “There is no substitute for American leadership, and I will continue to push to keep our international partners focused on our collective goal.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said Obama now should use “all the authority that the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act grants him to cut off cash to Kim Jong Un’s illicit and deadly programs.”

“We must use every tool we have to keep North Korea from building an advanced nuclear arsenal capable of striking the United States and our allies,” Royce stressed.