North Korea said it successfully conducted a ICBM test on November 29 [Handout/KCNA/Reuters]

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 United States, 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.

‘Arrogance and hostility’ 

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

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“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.

Pyongyang 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.

 

Backed by China and Russia

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

However the US have said no diplomatic talks can take place without a “full cessation” of North Korea’s nuclear programme.

The US also refuses to stop joint training exercises with South Korea, which North Korea has called “a rehearsal for invasion”. 

Friday’s resolution contains a commitment to the resumption of “six-party talks”, leaving the door open for possible diplomatic negotiations.

The six-party talks are a diplomatic effort, which aim to find a peaceful solution to security concerns in the Korean Peninsula. They involve North Korea, South Korea and the US, along with regional powers China, Japan and Russia.

The last six-party talks were held in 2009. 

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