North Korea on November 29 said it successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile in a "breakthrough" that puts the USA mainland within range of its nuclear weapons whose warheads could withstand re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the US mainland.
The resolution bans the supply of almost 75 percent of refined oil products to North Korea, puts a cap on crude deliveries and orders the repatriation of all North Korean nationals working overseas by the end of 2019.
On Friday, the US-initiated draft resolution was supported by all of the 15 member states of the UN Security Council, including Russian Federation and China.
The sanctions proposed by the USA include capping exports of kerosene, gasoline and other refined petroleum products to North Korea at 500,000 barrels a year from January. Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the council that the "pressure campaign must and will continue until denuclearization is achieved", as he backtracked from his offer to hold unconditional talks with Pyongyang.
Ahead of the council meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said a unanimous vote would be important to send a clear message to Pyongyang that it must abandon its ambition to develop nuclear weapons.
In November, North Korea called for a halt to what it called "brutal sanctions", saying a previous round imposed after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3 constituted genocide.
The country had also regularly threatened they would destroy South Korea, Japan and the United States and continue to claim that the weapons program is necessary to counter USA aggression.
Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from the United Nations, said the move was a "significant ramping up" of sanctions against North Korea. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. Refined oil product imports would be capped at 500,000 barrels a year.
All North Korean workers in foreign countries are in principle to be repatriated within 2 years from the day the resolution is adopted.
US President Donald Trump's new national security strategy is a "criminal document" that seeks the "total subordination of the whole world to the interests of the US", North Korea's foreign ministry says. "If such sanctions were enforced, they would thus impede and endanger North Korea's economic development".
Washington has been imposing sanctions on the country since 2008, banning the export of goods and services to the country, with little effect.
Anchor: Tensions continue to rise between North Korea and the rest of the world as Kim Jong-un asserts his country's nuclear capability and the United Nations seeks even stronger sanctions against the rogue regime.