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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Haley thanks Chinese for cooperation as UN agrees North Korea sanctions

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose a fresh round of sanctions against the renegade state

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, and Britain's ambassador Matthew Rycroft vote on a US-drafted resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, right, and Britain's ambassador Matthew Rycroft vote on a US-drafted resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea

There was a moment of rare détente between the US and China on Saturday as the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose fresh sanctions on the renegade state following ballistic missile tests last month.

US president Donald Trump commended the Security Council for passing a new resolution that increases sanctions on North Korea.

"The president appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of this resolution," said a statement released by the press secretary's office. "He will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilising behaviour."

Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, said: “I want to personally thank the Chinese delegation for important contributions they made to this resolution.

“Today the full Security Council has come together to put the North Korean dictator on notice,” Haley said after the vote. “And this time, the council has matched its actions and words.”

The US-led resolution targets $1 billion of North Korean exports, also banning “the opening of new joint ventures or cooperative entities with” with the country. Existing joint ventures would be prevented from expanding their operations.

The ban has inspired rare unity amongst the members of the Security Council. The Twitter feed of Sweden, who hold one of the rotating positions on the body, said all its members were “united and determined to deal with [a] situation that jeopardises international peace & security.”

Matthew Rycroft, the UN representative of the United Kingdom, one of the five permanent members, said: “North Korea is no longer a threat faced by a single country or a single region. It is a threat that confronts us all. In a world where North Korean missile tests seem routine, let me be clear: this is not business as usual.

“Today we banned North Korea exports of coal, iron and seafood, lifeline exports that sustain Kim Jong-Un's deadly aspirations. The country bears full responsibility for the measures enacted here today.”

Rycroft also remarked that the use of foreign workers by North Korea “was undoubtedly a form of modern slavery, and today we've taken the first step to ending it.”

Earlier on Saturday. US national security adviser H R McMaster said that the Trump administration wasn’t ruling out a “preventive war” to stop North Korea from being able to threaten the US with a nuclear weapon.

“If they had nuclear weapons that can threaten the United States, it’s intolerable from the president’s perspective,” Mr McMaster told MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt. “So, of course, we have to provide all options to do that, and that includes a military option.”

McMaster said the president has made clear he is “not going to tolerate North Korea being able to threaten the United States.” Even so, the U.S. would prefer to resolve the threat “short of what would be a very costly war in terms of the suffering of, mainly, the South Korean people.”