LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
North Korea is one of the most challenging foreign policy situations facing the Trump administration right now. The international community has just stepped in. The United Nations Security Council is levying a fresh round of sanctions. And the U.S. is calling them the toughest in a generation. As NPR's Elise Hu reports, this is the latest rebuke against North Korea's two recent ballistic missile tests.
ELISE HU, BYLINE: The vote by the 15 nations Security Council was unanimous. U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, says the sanctions increase the penalty on North Korea to a whole new level.
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NIKKI HALEY: And this time, the council has matched its words and actions.
HU: The latest package stops foreign investment in North Korea through joint ventures and cuts its total exports by a third. China, North Korea's biggest customer by far, signed on.
ANKIT PANDA: The United States was able to get a pretty strong resolution here that will hit North Korea where it hurts economically.
HU: That's Ankit Panda who writes about North Korea for the online magazine, The Diplomat.
PANDA: With this resolution, not only are loopholes appear to be close, but also it's simply a broader range of goods that are covered - coal, iron ore, lead ore, lead, seafood products. It's pretty comprehensive.
HU: But Pyongyang has already faced a decade's worth of ever-increasing sanctions backed by the U.S. and its allies, which makes many North Korea observers, like John Delury of Seoul's Yonsei University, skeptical about the latest round.
JOHN DELURY: The two previous South Korean governments essentially bought into a sanctions approach to try and stop North Korea, and it hasn't worked. And so we're doing more of the same.
HU: North Korean state media responded with commentary saying the U.S. shouldn't, quote, "stupidly cause mischief and brandish its nuclear and sanctions clubs" end quote. The Kim Jong Un regime has pledged it will never give up its weapons capabilities.
DELURY: One thing North Korea is extremely good at is absorbing pain. And the last thing that they yield on is their deterrence capability because they feel under threat and under siege.
HU: The U.N. vote happened as foreign ministers from Asia and the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, meet in the Philippines. North Korea's foreign minister is there, too. Delury says it's a chance for diplomacy, but there's no evidence of talking happening so far.
DELURY: That's a dangerous recipe heading into August, where we're going to have large-scale military exercises and these sanctions start to bite. You need an off ramp.
HU: For now, the U.S. and its allies are staying the course. Elise Hu, NPR News, Seoul.
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