The U.N. Security Council voted on a draft resolution Thursday to impose new economic sanctions on North Korea following the country’s Feb. 12 underground nuclear test.
The resolution, number 2094, released on Tuesday and introduced to the Security Council by both the United States and China, imposes new financial sanctions and travel restrictions on various North Korean companies and individuals. It will also allow member states stronger authority to ground planes and deny port access to any ships suspected of carrying smuggled chemical or nuclear goods.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice also noted that the resolution imposes sanctions on the import of luxury goods to North Korea, so that “the ruling elite, who have been living large while impoverishing their people will pay a direct price.”
North Korea has not responded well to its new restrictions, and threatened earlier Thursday morning to strike the United States in violation of the 1953 Korean armistice agreement -- the treaty that ended the Korean war. No such strike has been reported, and Rice said she “regretted” that North Korea had “again chosen the path of provocation instead of the path of peace.”
“North Korea will achieve nothing by continued threats and provocations,” Rice said. “These will only further isolate the country and its people, and undermine international efforts to promote peace.”
China’s Amabssador Li Baodong emphasized China’s commitment to a “peaceful settlement” of the “relevant issues.”
“The resolution adopted by Security Council is a reflection of the will and determination of international community against [North Korea’s] nuclear program,” Li said. China is North Korea’s most significant ally at the U.N. and on the world stage, but Li insisted that “China’s position is consistent” on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program.
South Korea’s Ambassador Kim Sook said his country “welcomed” the new resolution, but admitted when questioned that South Korea had had no recent contact with North Korea and that the six-party talks – aimed at de-nuclearizing North Korea – were not moving forward. “Pyongyang has blocked themselves off from the world,” Kim told reporters.
All parties involved emphasized that North Korea’s actions were damaging themselves. Russia’s Vitaly Churkin, the current president of the Security Council, said that the current cycle of “provocation, sanction, provocation, sanction, this is unfortunate.”
“I don’t think we should all be thinking only in terms of tough responses,” Churkin said. "Let's talk and act with restraint. Let's keep our minds cool."
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.