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U.N. slaps new sanctions on North Korea for recent nuclear test

Participants stand behind a military band in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 13 during a celebration rally after the country's successful test of a nuclear warhead. (Kim Won-Jin / AFP/Getty Images)
Participants stand behind a military band in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Sept. 13 during a celebration rally after the country's successful test of a nuclear warhead. (Kim Won-Jin / AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations has slapped additional sanctions on North Korea in an effort to cut its exports of raw materials as punishment for conducting another nuclear test.

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a U.S.-drafted resolution aimed at cutting North Korea's exports of coal, copper, silver and other raw materials, which are its biggest legitimate sources of foreign revenue.

The latest sanctions were issued in response to Pyongyang's fifth and largest nuclear test, which was conducted in September in violation of U.N. resolutions.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power estimated the new sanctions will cost North Korea about $800 million a year in lost export income.

North Korea "is determined to refine its nuclear and ballistic missile technology to pose an even more potent threat ... to international peace and security," Power said.

"But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the [Kim Jong Un] regime for defying this council’s demands," she said.

Previous international sanctions have had little apparent effect on decisions in Pyongyang, and it's difficult to know whether the latest round will make a difference.

In March, a set of sanctions described as the most severe in two decades was imposed. But North Korea has gotten around some of the restrictions thanks to complicity from China, its neighbor and longtime benefactor.

Wednesday's measures included a 60% cut on North Korea's export of coal, its biggest income source, and bans on the export of copper, nickel, silver and zinc. 

The sanctions also banned North Korea's export of statues, a business that caters mostly to Africa, and blacklisted 11 people and 10 entities.

Under the resolution, North Korea is also threatened with suspension of some U.N. privileges if it fails to comply. 

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