UN imposes sanctions on North Korea

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The Independent Online

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a package of economic and trade sanctions against North Korea last night, six days after it stunned the world by announcing it had conducted its first successful nuclear test.

"We are very pleased at the outcome," the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said after the Security Council ended nearly a week of sometimes tense negotiations on punishing North Korea for the test. The final resolution contained several late compromises requested by Russia and China.

In the end, the council agreed on a text condemning the test and demanding that the regime in Pynongyang desist from pursuing its nuclear weapons programme and return to six-country talks on the issue, which it has boycotted for more than a year.

The resolution allows nations to inspect cargo moving in and out of North Korea in pursuit of non-conventional weapons.

Most sensitive were the efforts by the US to pass a resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. This would have given it maximum legal weight. In the end, however, it backed down in the face of pressure from China and Russia, to include wording to clarify that the use of Chapter 7 does not imply that non-compliance by North Korea may lead to military action against it.

There is deep sensitivity over the issue, not least because in 2003 the US used a Chapter 7 resolution on Iraq to try to justify its invasion of that country.

The North Korean envoy walked out after the vote.

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