UN Security Council unanimously approves sanctions on North Korea

UN Security Council unanimously approves sanctions on North Korea
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The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved new sanctions against North Korea, a sweeping international response to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests, which violated U.N. rules.

The punishments require inspections of all cargo entering and leaving North Korea by land, sea or air; a ban on the trading of small arms; and the expulsion of diplomats deemed to have engaged in “illicit activities,” according to The Associated Press.   

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U.S. officials spent weeks negotiating with China, North Korea’s chief ally, on a new sanctions package, which is the toughest against Pyongyang in two decades. 

President Obama called the sanctions a “firm, united and appropriate response by the international community” to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  

“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,” he said in a statement.   

North Korea in February launched a long-range rocket, which Western governments said violated Security Council resolutions against intercontinental ballistic missile tests. In January, the country conducted its fourth nuclear weapons test. But Washington cast doubt on Pyongyang’s claim that it tested a powerful hydrogen bomb. 

Congress passed its own package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea last month. But some experts have questioned the efficacy of sanctions against the isolated communist country.