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Nikki Haley
American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Nikki Haley: 'We're prepared to do whatever it takes' on North Korea


Updated August 06, 2017 07:22 AM EDT

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised the UN Security Council's unanimous vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday, saying that the UN "spoke with one voice."

"What I will tell you from the United States' perspective, we're prepared to do whatever it takes to defend ourselves and defend our allies," Haley told CNN. "The ball is in North Korea's court. They now have to decide where they want to go from here. We hope that they will go the route of peace and security."

"To have China stand with us, along with Japan and (South Korea) and the rest of the international community telling North Korea to do this, it's pretty impactful," Haley added.

Haley called newly approved sanctions on North Korea "a gut punch" to that country.

"This was a strong day in the UN, it was a strong day for the United States and it was a strong day for the international community. It was not a good day for North Korea."

Earlier this week, President Trump signed into law another set of sanctions against Russia.When Haley was asked about the effectiveness of those sanctions, she responded "we'll have to wait and see."

"We should always be hard on any country that tries to meddle in our elections, whether it's Russia or anyone else," she said.

The United National Security Council on Saturday voted unanimously to approve sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the country's adamant display of nuclear arsenal.

Spearheaded by the US, the resolution bans minerals, including coal, iron, iron ore, lead, and lead ore, and seafood exports worth more than one billion dollars. The measure serves as the seventh set of UN sanctions implemented against the regime since it carried out its first nuclear test in 2006.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley lauded the council's undisputed unity regarding the sanctions.

"Today the full Security Council has come together to put the North Korean dictator on notice. And this time, the council has matched its actions and words."
Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN

The UN-adopted resolution aims to further pressure North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapons program "in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner" by adding to the number of persons and institutions blacklisted. Nine individuals and four entities, including North Korea's primary foreign exchange bank, will now be subjected to a global asset freeze and travel ban.

A diplomat speaking on the condition of anonymity before the vote described the resolution as the "most impactful and expansive set of sanctions to date."

The swift diplomacy surfaced just one week after North Korea demonstrated an ability to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States mainland.

And it's not the only decisive measure implemented by the U.S. In July, the State Department announced plans to bar Americans from traveling to North Korea due to the risk of long-term detention in light of the death of college student Otto Warmbier.

“The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last month. “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, [Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] has authorized a Geographical Travel Restriction on all U.S. citizen nationals’ use of a passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea.”

WATCH: Bomb shelter sales sky rocket as North Korea continues testing missiles

Bomb shelter sales sky rocket as North Korea continues testing missiles

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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