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UNSC And USA Approve Toughest Sanctions on North Korea
Mar 09, 2016

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang's latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

The United States and China (North Korea's traditional ally) spent seven weeks negotiating the new sanctions, which include mandatory inspections of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by land, sea or air.

  • A ban on all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons.

  • Expulsion of diplomats from the North who engage in illicit activities.

  • The international community, speaking with one voice, has sent a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people.

  • The resolution bans the export of coal, iron and iron ore being used to fund North Korea's nuclear or ballistic missile programs but not for general economic use.

  • It prohibits all exports of gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth minerals and bans aviation fuel exports to the country, including kerosene-type rocket fuel.

  • North Korea fired short-range projectiles into the sea just hours after the sanctions were approved.

  • Earlier, North Korea started off the new year with what it claims was its first hydrogen bomb test on January 6 and launched a satellite on a rocket on February 7. The launch was condemned by much of the world as a test of banned missile technology.

  • The North's launches also came shortly after South Korea approved its first legislation on human rights in North Korea. The South Korean bill's passage was ahead of the Security Council's approval of the sanctions.

China, Russia and others expressed hope that the sanctions will lead to the immediate resumption of six-party talks aimed at the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. North Korea withdrew from the talks in 2008.

US Sanctions

The U.S., its Western allies and Japan pressed for new sanctions that went beyond the North's nuclear and missile programs but China was reluctant to impose measures that could threaten the stability of the neighboring country and cause its economy to collapse. Nonetheless, China did agree to several measures aimed at shutting down financing for nuclear and missile programs.

  • The resolution also prohibits all countries from opening new branches, subsidiaries and representative offices of North Korean banks, and bans financial institutions from establishing new joint ventures or establishing or maintaining correspondent relationships with these banks.

  • U.S. said it is estimated that the North Korea earns approximately $1 billion annually from coal (a third of its export income) and at least $200 million a year from iron ore exports.

  • In the financial and banking sector, countries are required to freeze the assets of companies and other entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

  • It orders countries to close all North Korean banks and terminate all banking relationships within 90 days.

  • The resolution stresses that the new measures are not intended to have "adverse humanitarian consequences" for civilians, the majority of whom face economic hardships and food shortages.

  • The U.N. is spending a little over $100 million annually on humanitarian aid to North Korea.

  • Under the previous four rounds of U.N. sanctions imposed since the country's first nuclear test in 2006, North Korea is banned from importing or exporting nuclear or missile items and technology as well as luxury goods. The new resolution expands the list of banned items, adding luxury items such as expensive watches, snowmobiles, recreational water vehicles and sports equipment, and lead crystal.

  • It also adds 16 individuals, 12 entities, including the National Aerospace Development Agency which was responsible for February's rocket launch, and 31 ships owned by the North Korean shipping firm Ocean Maritime Management Company to the sanctions blacklist.

  • The resolution also bans North Korea from chartering vessels or aircraft, and call on countries to de-register any vessel owned, operated or crewed by the North.

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