The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Monday evening to increase sanctions against North Korea, albeit a resolution that was greatly watered down from that desired by the United States.
Demands by the United States to place an embargo on oil and to freeze the assets of Kim Jong Un were relinquished in the negotiations last week with Russia and China in order to ensure passage of the resolution.
The measure sets limits, however, on exports of crude oil and fuel products to Pyongyang, capping shipments of refined fuels to North Korea at two million barrels a year, holding annual crude oil exports at current levels and imposing a ban on textile exports. Previous sanctions stopped short of imposing controls on oil and fuel.
In addition, the resolution added restrictions on the export of North Korean labor.
“By definition, this is a compromise in order to get everyone on board,” French UN Ambassador François Delattre told reporters ahead of the vote.
The move comes in response to Pyongyang’s latest test of a nuclear hydrogen bomb a week ago, one that was judged eight times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Iwojima during World War II.
The resolution was drastically watered down in order to secure a vote of approval by Russia and China, whose votes are required in order to pass the measure since both are permanent members of the Council.
A resolution requires a minimum of nine votes to pass, with no vetoes. British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the Reuters news agency on Monday that he believes the current text is mild enough to make it through the Council, and yet strong enough to be effective.
North Korea has threatened the United States will pay for leading the effort to pass more sanctions against its nation.