UN approves toughest sanctions on North Korea in 20 years

FILE - In this July 28, 2015 file photo, under the portraits of the late North Korean leaders, Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il, ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations Jang Il Hun, right, is joined by councilor Kwon Jong Gun as he speaks during a new conference at the DPRK mission in New York. A U.N. Security Council vote on the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades has been postponed until Wednesday morning at Russia's request, the United States and France said Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

The United States and North Korea’s traditional ally China spent seven weeks negotiating the new sanctions. They 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.”

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.

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