UN slaps toughest ever penalties
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously imposed its toughest ever sanctions on North Korea, placing a cap on its key coal exports after the state's defiant nuclear tests.
The new sanctions resolution, which was spearheaded by the United States and came after three months of tough negotiations with fellow veto-wielding council member China, passed by a 15-0 vote.
The resolution demands that North Korea "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs" and takes aim at the state's exports of coal -- its top external revenue source.
Under the resolution, North Korea will be restricted from exporting beyond 7.5 million tons of coal in 2017, a reduction of 62 percent from 2015.
Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said that the resolution would strip the regime of more than $700 million in hard currency, dramatically reducing the money it can spend on nuclear and ballistic weapons.
Power, speaking to reporters with her counterparts from US allies South Korea and Japan, called the resolution "the strongest sanctions regime the Security Council has imposed on any country in more than a generation."