UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Friday a new resolution containing tougher sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its continued and ever advancing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The newly passed Resolution 2397, showcasing international unity on nuclear non-proliferation, seeks to further limit Pyongyang's access to refined and crude oil, stem the earnings of its overseas workers, and ban exports of its major products.
New sanctions included in the resolution will significantly cut short refined petroleum exports to Pyongyang, put a lid on its crude oil imports, ask UN member states to repatriate DPRK nationals earning incomes abroad, and crack down on ships illegally transferring oil to or smuggling banned items from the country.
The resolution sets a ceiling of 500,000 barrels for the import of refined petroleum to the DPRK during a 12-month period beginning from Jan. 1, 2018.
That reduces the country's import of refined oil by almost 90 percent, and is a reduction from the 4.5 million barrels it imported in 2016, as well as a 2 million-barrel limit stipulated in a September resolution.
The resolution also restricts the DPRK's crude oil imports to no more than 4 million barrels a year and requests that countries supplying oil to Pyongyang provide a quarterly report to the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions.
The U.S.-drafted resolution refrains from banning all oil imports for the Northeastern Asian nation, something the administration of President Donald Trump has threatened many times amid Pyongyang's non-stop provocative actions.
Moreover, UN member states must expel DPRK workers from their territories. The resolution states that money earned ends up becoming a source of funds for the regime's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The time for completion of the repatriation was extended from 12 months to 24 months in a last-minute change of the text at the request from Russia, which said the prolonged period is "a minimum acceptable for us ... to settle logistics aspects of the problem."
The resolution adds 15 DPRK individuals, including 13 overseas bank representatives and two senior officials related to the country's weapons development, to a blacklist for global asset freeze and travel ban.
The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces, which manages the general administrative and logistical needs of the Korean People's Army, was also put in the list. The number of individuals was reduced from an original version of 19.
Following a September mandate that banned all DPRK exports of textile, the resolution further cut off Pyongyang's major sources of income by prohibiting the country from exporting food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone -- including magnesite and magnesia -- wood and vessels.
Meanwhile, it bans the supply of industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and iron, steel, and other metals from all UN member countries to the DPRK.
Expressing "great concerns" that the DPRK is illicitly exporting coal and other prohibited items "through deceptive maritime activities and obtaining petroleum illegally through ship-to-ship transfers," the resolution empowers all UN member states to clamp down on such activities.
Member states may seize, inspect, freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports and territorial waters, should they have reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by Security Council resolutions, reads the resolution's text.
PEACEFUL SOLUTION ONLY WAY FORWARD
The resolution reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large, and expresses its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation.
It welcomes efforts by the council members as well as other states to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue, and stresses the importance of working to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution and called for a peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
"The only way forward for a comprehensive peaceful and political solution requires de-escalation and open communication channels, now," Guterres' spokesman said in a statement, urging full implementation of relevant resolutions as well as doubled efforts to make 2018 a pivotal year for achieving sustainable peace on the peninsula.
Wu Haitao, charge d'affaires of China's permanent mission to the United Nations, said Friday's resolution reflects the unanimous position of the international community in opposing the DPRK's development of nuclear weapon and ballistic missile capabilities and in maintaining the international non-proliferation regime.
Wu also stressed the importance of the full and comprehensive implementation of the resolution, which he said includes provisions that the restrictive measures are not intended to hurt normal economic activities and food and humanitarian assistance.
"It is imperative to put an immediate end to rhetoric and actions that are detrimental to de-nuclearization and peace and stability on the peninsula," the Chinese envoy said.
Deputy Russian Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov demanded that parties involved show openness to genuine and meaningful political dialogue, saying "isolation and pressure must give way to dialogue and talks."
Echoing calls for dialogue, Francois Delattre, the French ambassador to the UN, said: "We believe maximum pressure (on the DPRK) today is our best lever to a political and diplomatic solution tomorrow ... (and) best antidote to the risk of war." Enditem