UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Saturday, which imposed new sanctions on North Korea that could slash by a third the country’s $3 billion annual export revenue.

The US-drafted resolution was approved in response to two intercontinental missile tests carried out by Pyongyang in July.

The resolution banned export by North Korea of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also stopped countries from increasing the number of North Korean labourers working there and also joint ventures.

Earlier in the week President Donald Trump had indicated that the US would deal with the crisis on its own, but then relented and sought help from China and Russia.

Any of the two veto-wielding countries could have killed the resolution. Washington negotiated with Beijing for a month on the latest resolution, before expanding talks to the 15-member council on Friday. The unanimously adopted resolution adds nine individuals and four entities to the UN blacklist, including North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

On Sunday the United States and China piled more pressure on North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear missile programme, added AFP news agency.

One day after Council members voted unanimously for a partial ban on exports from the country, top diplomats from the key powers in the dispute met in Manila.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he was encouraged by the vote, but officials warned that Washington would closely watch China — North Korea’s biggest trade partner — to ensure that sanctions were enforced.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his North Korean counterpart Ri Hong-Yo before a major regional security forum being hosted by the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He urged the North to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

“It will help the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] to make the right and smart decision,” Wang told reporters, speaking through a translator, after talks with Ri — referring to the sanctions and to Ri’s presence in Manila.

Pyongyang’s top envoy has so far avoided the media in Manila. But in a characteristically fiery editorial before the latest sanctions were approved, the North’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned against US aggression.

“The day the US dares tease our nation with a nuclear rod and sanctions, the mainland US will be catapulted into an unimaginable sea of fire,” it said. Tillerson also met Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“It was a good outcome,” Tillerson said of the UN vote, before a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha.

Senior US envoy Susan Thornton said Washington was “still going to be watchful” on the implementation of sanctions, cautioning that previous votes had been followed by China “slipping back”.

But she added China’s support for the UN resolution “shows that they realise that this is a huge problem that they need to take on”.

The urgency of the situation was underlined by President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who told MSNBC news that the US leader was reviewing plans for a “preventive war”.

“He said he’s not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2017