US compromises on oil sales ban, asset freezes in effort to win Russia, China’s support

The UN Security Council on Monday passed fresh sanctions against North Korea, a week after the rogue nation carried out its sixth and largest ever nuclear test.

The U.S.-drafted unanimously approved resolution aims to limit the North's oil imports, ban its textile exports, stop joint ventures with other nations and stem efforts to smuggle items into the North that are prohibited by international resolutions.

The proposal approved Monday had been redrafted to omit the Donald Trump administration's two key demands: a complete ban on the country's oil imports and asset freezes on its leader Kim Jong-un, the ruling party and the government.

The U.S. had reportedly watered down its sanctions resolution in order to win support from China and Russia.

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The two measures would have had crippling effects on the North's economy. 

U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley said the resolution sends a clear message.

"Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. And today, the Security Council is saying that if the North Korean regime does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves," Haley said.

Describing oil as North Korea's lifeblood, Haley said the resolution reduces almost 30 percent of oil provided to the country.

"We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing. We are now acting to stop it from having the ability to continue doing the wrong thing," she added.

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The U.K.'s envoy to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, called the measures "the toughest ever sanctions regime on any country by the United Nations in the 21st century".

The Security Council vote comes hours after North Korea warned that it would inflict "pain and suffering" on the U.S. should the resolution go through.

"The DPRK is ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means," a statement by the North's foreign affairs ministry said, according to state media, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea.

"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it has ever gone through in its entire history,'' the statement added.

The sanctions come just over a week after North Korea carried out what it claimed was a test of a hydrogen bomb capable of being placed on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Experts have warned that prior ICBM tests indicate that the North is capable of striking deep into the U.S. mainland.

The issue is expected to be a major topic at the annual UN General Assembly later this month.

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