President Trump dismissed recent U.N. sanctions on North Korea as “not a big deal” Tuesday and warned that the sanctions “are nothing” compared to what likely must happen to end the country’s military aggression.
The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a watered-down version of a U.S.-drafted resolution in response to the regime’s test of a hydrogen bomb this month.
The United States’ original draft had included imposing a full oil embargo on the country, but after closed-door negotiations, the Council passed a resolution without the embargo – likely to prevent China or Russia from using their vetoes.
The resolution that passed reduces about 30 percent of oil imports to the country via an annual cap of two million barrels a year and bans the supply of natural gas to the country. It also bans the export of textiles, bans joint ventures with North Korea, and bans North Korean laborers from working abroad.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley praised the vote, saying that combined with sanctions passed in August, they make up “the strongest ever measures imposed on North Korea” and noted that 90 percent of the regime’s declared exports are now banned.
But in a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak Tuesday, Trump said that while it was nice to get a unanimous vote, the sanctions were “not a big deal.”
“We think it’s just another very small step — not a big deal. Rex [Tillerson] and I were just discussing,” he said. “Not big. I don’t know if it has any impact, but certainly, it was nice to get a 15-to-nothing vote.”
However, Trump also had a stark warning for the regime: “But those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”