UN imposes new sanctions on North Korea

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to impose tough new sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s latest missile test.

The sanctions, passed on Friday, include a ban on nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum exports to North Korea.

The restrictions, proposed by the US, are designed to prevent Pyongyang from furthering its nuclear programme.

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN, said the move was a “significant ramping up” of sanctions against North Korea.

“The idea is to squeeze North Korea as tightly as possible to reduce its income, reduce its revenues, and in that way hopefully drive it to the negotiating table and also for it to stop its missile development process,” he said.

The resolution also orders North Koreans who work abroad to return to the country within 24 months.

Speaking at the UN, Nikki Haley, US ambassador, said North Korea’s “arrogance and hostility” had been a stumbling block to achieving peace.

“Today, for the 10th time, this council stands united against a North Korean regime that rejects the pursuit of peace,” she said.

“The Kim regime continues to defy the resolutions of this council, the norms of civilised behaviour and the patience of the international community.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un‘s government has conducted several missile tests this year, which have drawn condemnation from the international community.

North Korea said on November 29 that it had successfully conducted a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland.

North Korean state television KCNA said that the missile is the “most powerful ICBM” yet to be tested by the country.

It was the third test of an ICBM by North Korea this year.

Both Russia and China supported the new sanctions, despite previously raising concerns that not enough was being done to promote diplomatic resolutions to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“There had been debate and argument in the past about these two countries preferring to focus on a diplomatic track and not wanting to introduce more sanctions until ones in place were fully implemented,” said Al Jazeera’s Hanna.