Major US allies in Asia welcomed the UN Security Council's decision to step up sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies to the reclusive North capped after its sixth nuclear test.
The 15-member council based in NY approved Resolution 2375, which imposes a cap on the supply, sales or transfer of crude oil to North Korea to the level of the past 12 months, some 4 million barrels, and limits exports of refined petroleum products to the country to 2 million barrels a year.
China, which supplies most of North Korea's crude, no longer reports its oil shipments to the country, but according to South Korean data supplies it with roughly 500,000 tonnes of crude oil annually.
The UN Security Council agreed late on Monday to a new set of sanctions in response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear test, but stopped short of imposing an oil embargo that had been favoured by the United States.
"If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future. if North Korea continues its risky path, we will continue with further pressure", said Haley, who credited a "strong relationship" between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping for the successful resolution negotiations.
The U.S. also sought a travel ban and asset freeze on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and four key officials, and an asset freeze on the country's national airline Air Koryo, the army, and five other military and party entities.
The new measures will target the country's textile exports and also seek to cap the number of North Koreans who work overseas and repatriate money at the current level of 100,000.
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Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, said time was running out and Chinese firms should be given "a choice between doing business with North Korea or the United States".
It was the eighth series of sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006, with previous resolutions having done little to halt Pyongyang's weapons ambitions. The new measures amounted to "the most stringent U.N. sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century", Johnson said. Now it seems that Russian companies are ramping up illicit trade with the North to help it evade sanctions which Russia voted for in the United Nations.
But U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday said the U.S. should be prepared to act alone, in a "supercharged" manner, to put maximum pressure on North Korea.
"This will cut deep", U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on the new resolution, pointing out it will hit Pyongyang's ability to fuel and fund its nuclear and missile programs and will reduce by nearly 50 percent its supply of gas, diesel and heavy fuel oil.
Jeong-Ho Roh, director of Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia University's Law School, said that past sanctions have had an incremental impact on North Korea.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later".