Tillerson says China must step up efforts to curtail North Korea

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The new resolution came six months after the previous resolution was adopted in November to punish the North's fifth nuclear test in September.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a US -drafted resolution imposing new targeted sanctions on a handful of North Korean officials and entities, in response to a series of ballistic missile tests this year that are banned under U.N. resolutions.

The US-drafted resolution has imposed a global travel ban and asset freeze on those added to the blacklist, which previously contained 39 individuals and 42 North Korean entities.

The penalties come as the Trump administration seeks to block North Korea's ability to build a nuclear weapon small enough to put atop a missile, and a ballistic missile powerful enough to deliver it to USA shores.

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The UN Security Council on Friday expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea after its repeated missile tests, adopting the first such resolution agreed by the United States and Pyongyang's only major ally China since US President Donald Trump took office, the news agency said.

Pyongyang conducted the most recent ballistic missile test on May 29, its ninth of the year so far, although it is banned under previous United Nations resolutions from testing nuclear weapons or missile technology and is already subject to multiple worldwide sanctions.

It also said the country "will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces" and vowed to continue to carry out ballistic missile launches "until the moment when the US and its followers are brought to reason about the root cause and a solution to the nuclear issue".

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the council was sending a "clear message to North Korea today - stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences". Moon's government has said it will consider expanding civilian exchanges with North Korea, while sternly dealing with its missile and other weapons tests.

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"It is a fatal miscalculation if the countries ... would even think that they can delay or hold in check the eye-opening development of the [North's] nuclear forces even for a moment", the spokesman said.

While she said the USA would "continue to seek a peaceful, diplomatic resolution", she made clear they were "prepared to counteract North Korean aggression through other means, if necessary".

"The U.S. steps up its military buildup including modernization of nuclear weapons just in order to obtain exclusive and permanent possession of the most sophisticated weapon system in the world". According to World Health Organization records, North Korea had 21,850 malaria cases in 2012 and 7,010 in 2015.

"No matter what others says, whatever sanctions and pressure may follow, we will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces which was chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence and will move forwards the final victory", the North Korean statement said. "Economical restrictions should be a kind of tool to invoke North Korea to a peaceful process of resolving the dispute and conflict, and not to once again deteriorate the economic solution in North Korea", he said.

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