The rogue republic of North Korea faces tougher sanctions if a draft United Nations security council resolution is passed.
The resolution follows North Korea ignoring pressure from the UN and other governments to stop testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
The resolution would allow the boarding and search of cargo ships entering and leaving North Korean ports for the first time.
Inspectors would check manifests and cargo holds to make sure equipment to help in the design and construction of nuclear weapons would not get through to the country.
US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said: “This is a major step up in sanctions against North Korea and goes much further than any further resolutions. We want to make sure North Korea and that anyone helping the country to build illegal weapons is accountable for the actions of the government,”
The resolution represents a major shift in policy within the security council.
China, a major ally of North Korea, is a permanent member and has the right to veto the resolution, but has indicated full support of the action by the USA.
Following a closed meeting of the council, China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi made a point of publicly making a strong statement aimed as a warning at the Pyongyang government.
“China is opposed to any nuclear testing and the launch or testing of any missile technology. We want to make clear that this resolution is aimed at making sure any further instances are stopped,” he said.
Jieyi also confirmed China was working with the security council to stop North Korea and other countries developing nuclear weapons and the missile capabilities of delivering them.7
No more luxury goods
The resolution also has a clause banning the sale of small arms, ammunition and other conventional weapons to North Korea.
Another additional clause stops countries shipping aviation fuel, including any fuel that could power rockets to North Korea.
Further economic sanctions will follow against North Korea’s banks to stop financial transactions involving weapons and the development of nuclear technology.
The country is also banned from importing luxury goods, such as watches, snowmobiles and jet skis.
“These sanctions are aimed at the ruling elite, not the long suffering people of North Korea,” said Power.