Is the UN finally starting to get serious about North Korea?

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to impose new sanctions on North Korea. Both China and Russia, who usually oppose sanctions as being unproductive, voted with the US to slap restrictions on North Korea's export of coal, as well as limiting the number of North Korean workers who can be employed overseas.

Negotiations with China over the sanctions took place over the last few weeks, with Russia being brought in as well. The vote was a strong indication that the Security Council recognizes the huge threat that North Korea poses to its neighbors as well as the US.

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The Security Council unanimously approved the sanctions on North Korea, including banning coal and other exports worth over $1 billion.

The US-drafted measure, negotiated with North Korea's neighbour and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter that China and Russia voted with the US to pass what he called "the single largest economic sanctions package ever" on North Korea.

Mr Trump's national security adviser, HR McMaster, stressed in an interview that aired earlier in the day that it is "impossible to overstate the danger" posed by North Korea.

In an interview with MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt, Mr McMaster said Mr Trump has been "deeply briefed" on the strategy on North Korea.

Tensions have mounted with Pyongyang's two recent successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Mr McMaster reiterated the administration's position that all options, including a targeted military strike, are on the table.

Still, he acknowledged this "would be a very costly war, in terms of … terms of the suffering of mainly the South Korean people".

McMaster continued: "So what we have to do is — is everything we can to — to pressure this regime, to pressure Kim Jong Un and those around him such that they conclude it is in their interest to denuclearise."

The comments came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in the Philippines for a regional summit expected to focus heavily on concerns with North Korea.

Mr Tillerson has no plans to sit down with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at the event.

He said this week that such talks would have to be predicated on the North giving up its nuclear weapons aspirations and that the conditions for such talks have not yet been met by North Korea's Government.

Make no mistake, this is a very big deal. China is the single biggest buyer of North Korean coal and cutting off exports will severely impact the North Korean economy - as if it already isn't a basket case. But it's a good start.

The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

"We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

Russia wanted assurances that the US would not attempt regime change or try to reunite the Korean peninsula, while Beijing wanted to water down some of the restrictions fearing an economic collapse of the Kim regime would lead to a tidal wave of refugees pouring into China.

In the end, the principles were on the same page and the rest of the Council went along.

Kudos to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley who did most of the leg work on the sanctions resolution. Her success highlights just how seriously the international community views the threat of the Kim regime.

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