The UN Security Council has unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea in response to last month's launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland.
The new sanctions approved in the council resolution on December 22 include sharply cutting limits on North Korea's imports of refined oil and orders the repatriation of all North Korean nationals working abroad by the end of 2019.
To prevent North Korea from circumventing sanctions, all countries were authorized to seize, inspect, freeze, and impound ships suspected of carrying illegal cargo to and from North Korea.
"[The resolution] sends the unambiguous message to Pyongyang that further defiance will invite further punishments and isolation," Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said following the vote.
"This resolution bites," French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, adding that it increased pressure on Pyongyang.
"Maximum firmness today is our best antidote to the risk of war," he said.
The United States last month warned North Korea's leadership that it would be "utterly destroyed" if war were to break out.
But North Korean leader Kim John Un was no less feisty that usual on December 21, asserting in a speech that his country had "rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the U.S.," North Korea's official KCNA news agency said.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP