The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reports the AP. Wednesday's move reflects growing anger at Pyongyang's latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity. The big question, of course, is whether the North will shrug off the penalties as it has done previously. The UN and North Korea's traditional ally China spent seven weeks negotiating the new sanctions, which 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 sanctions also include a ban on the sale of aviation fuel to North Korea, notes CNN, which has a more complete breakdown of the penalties. The sanctions "send an unambiguous and unyielding message to the DPRK regime: The world will not accept your proliferation," says Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations. Russia had blocked the vote for 24 hours before agreeing to the sanctions Wednesday morning. (Read more North Korea stories.)