Saturday, December 23, 2017
The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday that significantly choke off new fuel supplies and order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years, in what may prove the last test of whether any amount of economic pressure can force it to reverse course on its nuclear program. The sanctions, adopted by a vote of 15 to 0, were the third imposed this year in an escalating effort to force the North into negotiations. China and Russia joined in the resolution, though American officials have charged that in recent months the Russians have secretly been opening new links to the North, including new internet connections that give the country an alternative to communicating primarily through China.
Under the new sanctions, oil exports will be limited to their current level, which has already begun to result in shortages around the country. Countries around the world will be ordered to expel North Korean workers, a key source of hard currency. Nations would also be urged to inspect all North Korean shipping and halt ship-to-ship transfers of fuel, which the North has used to evade sanctions.
The vote came just four days after the United States charged that the North was responsible for the "Wannacry" cyber attack that crippled computers around the world in May, and weeks after the country launched a new intercontinental missile that appears capable of reaching any city in the United States. But the White House Homeland Security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, acknowledged on Tuesday that the United States was running out of sanctions options.
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