Reclusive state North Korea is set to be punished for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch with the UN Security Council unanimously adopting a resolution that significantly expands existing sanctions.
According to Al Jazeera, US Ambassador Samantha Power said the new sanctions, adopted on Wednesday, go further than any UN sanctions against the regime in two decades.
The sanctions are designed to cut off funds for North Korea’s nuclear and other banned weapons programmes without destabilising the already volatile economy.
“We’ve got to be honest,” Power said, “that while previous multilateral efforts, including the four previous sanctions resolutions adopted by this Council, have undoubtedly made it more difficult for North Korea to advance its weapons programmes, the regime continues to plough ahead as it demonstrated the last two months.
“That is why the resolution we have just adopted is so much tougher than any prior North Korea resolution.”
Under the new sanctions, all cargo going into and leaving the country must be inspected – previously states only had to inspect North Korean cargo shipments if they had reasonable grounds to believe they contained illicit goods.
Sixteen individuals have also been added to a UN blacklist including North Korean trade representatives in Syria, Iran and Vietnam.
It is believed much of the resources of the impoverished state are channelled into weapons development.
The resolution also included elements to target the excesses of the leadership of North Korea including a ban on exports to the country of luxury watches, aquatic recreational vehicles, snowmobiles worth more than $2000, lead crystal items and recreational sports equipment.