China appeared to give a boost to US efforts to curtail North Korea's nuclear program on Sunday, one day after the United Nations voted to impose new sanctions on the country. After meeting North Korea's top diplomat, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged North Korea to make the "smart decision" and stop testing nuclear weapons and launching missiles, the Washington Post reports. “Do not violate the UN's decision or provoke international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Wang said. China's warning came a little more than a week after North Korea tested a ballistic missile that experts say could hit major cities in the United States.
On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea, banning the country's largest exports, coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood, the Los Angeles Times reports. The resolution also freezes the assets of a North Korean art studio that makes Communist-style statues and monuments for dictatorships around the world. All told the sanctions would cut North Korean annual exports by a third, from $3 billion to $2 billion. In response to the UN vote, North Korea's state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, condemned the United States on Sunday, CNN reports. "The US mainland will sink into an unimaginable sea of fire on the day when it dares to touch our country by stupidly causing mischief and brandishing its nuclear and sanctions clubs," the article warned. (Read more North Korea stories.)