The UN Security Council has approved a resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programme.
The Security Council unanimously adopted on Saturday the US-led resolution, which bans mineral and seafood exports worth over $1bn.
The measures would be the seventh set of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first carried out a nuclear test in 2006.
“Today the full Security Council has come together to put the North Korean dictator on notice,” Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said after the vote. “And this time, the council has matched its actions and words.”
The resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.
It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean labourers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
It adds nine individuals and four entities to the UN blacklist, including North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them to a global asset freeze and travel ban.
Earlier on Saturday, Southeast Asia’s top diplomats attending a regional security forum in Manila, in the Philippines, also criticised North Korea, saying its two ICBM tests last month threaten world stability.
“These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world,” the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers said in a statement on Saturday.
ASEAN Regional Forum is a 27-nation bloc that includes North Korea, South Korea, US and Japan.
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Its position was short of a tougher line by the US, which wanted it to downgrade relations with North Korea.
Return to talks
Backed by its European allies, Japan and South Korea, the US has been leading the push at the UN for tougher sanctions in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
A second test on July 28 raised further alarm about North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s drive to develop a missile capable of hitting the US mainland.
The resolution reiterates language in previous Security Council resolutions supporting a return to six-party talks with the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.
All the countries involved in the six-party talks belong to the ASEAN Regional Forum.
North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2009 in protest against international condemnation of a long-range rocket launch.
The ASEAN ministers, in their statement from Manila, said they were ready “to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability” on the Korean Peninsula.
“We strongly call upon [North Korea] as a participant of the ASEAN Regional Forum, to positively contribute to realise the ARF vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity,” it said.
Some Asian countries, including South Korea, are hoping to have bilateral talks with North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho.
“If there is a chance, I would tell him that we must have dialogue and that the North must stop the continuous provocations,” Kang Kyung Wha, South Korea’s foreign minister, said.
North Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday said it had briefed diplomats of Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in Pyongyang earlier in the week about the “resounding success” of its latest ICBM test.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies