The United Nations Security Council on Friday passed expanded sanctions against North Korea after series of nuclear missile tests. The first ever draft resolutions endorsed by the US and China, the North’s main ally, since President Donald Trump assumed office.

The Trump administration has been mounting intense pressure on China to apply its whirling influence on reclusive Pyongyang, threatening that all options are available on the table if North Korea continues with its provocative nuclear weapon development programs.

US patience

The US has managed to slow those threats, which have become a top security concern considering Pyongyang’s threat to build a nuclear warhead capable of striking the US mainland.

“The United States will continue to pursue a peaceful and diplomatic solution to this situation,” Nikki Haley US Ambassador to the UN told the council at the close of voting.

“Apart from diplomatic and financial implications, The United States remains firm to counteract North Korean hostility through other means necessary,” she added.

Strong message for Pyongyang

“The UN Security Council is sending a strong message to Pyongyang-desist from launching a ballistic missile or face severe consequences,” Haley said.

The resolution was unanimously adopted by the 15 Security Council members. Four entities strategic to North Korea were sanctioned, including the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army and Koryo Bank, and 14 individuals, including the Chief of Pyongyang’s spy agency.

UN sanctions

The Koryo Bank is carrying out international transactions for Office 38, a shadowy agency that oversees the private slush funds of North Korean leaders, according to South Korean government sources.

The moves adopted on Friday may have been endorsed by the Security Council’s North Korean sanctions committee privately, but the US persuaded China to support a public vote on the blacklist, indicating the council’s anger with Pyongyang’s violation of a UN ban on nuclear missile tests.

The United Nations Security Council imposed its first-ever sanction on Pyongyang in 2006 over its weapon programs and had meted out the moves in reaction to five missile launches and two short-range nuclear tests. The DPRK is currently warming up for a sixth nuclear lunch.

The window of opportunity for the nuclear issue ravaging the peninsula is still open for the resumption of dialogue that would bring about settlement and negotiations, Liu Jieyi Chinese Ambassador to the UN told the council.

The Chinese Ambassador made a simultaneous proposal to freeze North Korea’s nuclear weapon programs and South Korea and the United States’ joint military drills, a move Russia said warrants “serious consideration.”

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