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U.N. tightens sanctions on North Korea

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted Friday to impose a broad range of additional financial, military and trade sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and called on states for the first time to seize banned North Korean cargo on the high seas.

The Security Council's action marked a significant escalation in the United Nations' effort to coerce North Korea into halting a barrage of ballistic missile tests and to prod it back into six-nation talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The 15-nation council is now set to begin negotiations over imposition of an asset freeze or travel ban on additional individuals and state companies linked to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program

But the authority of the council's move was mitigated by its unwillingness to use force to ensure compliance, or to impose a comprehensive economic blockade that would severely curtail a boom in North Korean trade, particularly with China. "This is not a trade embargo," Britain's deputy U.N. ambassador, Philip Parham, said shortly before the vote.

In a sign of its reluctance to cut off Pyongyang, Beijing insisted that the resolution include an exemption from an arms embargo that allows China to sell Pyongyang small arms and light weapons, including the signature AK-47 used by North Korea's giant military, according to council diplomats.

Sheer genius: Kim Jong Il's youngest son has been given the title of "Brilliant Comrade," a newspaper reported Friday, a sign the communist regime may be preparing to name him as successor to the ailing and reclusive leader. Kim Jong Un, 26, is being referred to as "Yongmyong Han Dongji," which translates roughly as "Brilliant Comrade," South Korea's mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.

U.N. tightens sanctions on North Korea 06/12/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 12, 2009 11:11pm]
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