- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, action that President Obama called “appropriate” in response to Pyonyang’s latest nuclear test and rocket launch.

The sanctions, which the U.S. and North Korea’s traditional ally China spent seven weeks negotiating, include mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by sea or air, a ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to Pyongyang, and expulsion of diplomats from the North who engage in “illicit activities.”

In a statement, Mr. Obama said the new sanctions impose “significant costs” for North Korea violating U.N. resolutions with its Jan. 6 nuclear test and Feb. 7 missile launch.

“This resolution levies strong new sanctions aimed at halting Pyongyang’s efforts to advance its weapons of mass destruction programs,” Mr. Obama said. “Today, the international community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people.”

The U.S., its Western allies and Japan pressed for new sanctions that went beyond the North’s nuclear and missile programs but China, Pyongyang’s neighbor, was reluctant to impose measures that could threaten the stability of North Korea and cause its economy to collapse.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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