MS Risk Blog

UN Security Council Imposes New Sanctions on North Korea

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On Monday 11 September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to step up sanctions on North Korea – a move that has been welcomed by major US allies in Asia. The latest sanctions will target North Korea’s profitable textile exports, which will now be banned, and fuel supplies will be capped. The move comes after North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test.

Monday’s decision was the 9th sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes. A tougher initial US draft was weakened in a bid to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold veto power in the Council. According to South Korean data, UN member states will now be required to halt imports of textiles from North Korea, its second largest export after coal and other material’s in 2016 that totalled US $752 million and accounted for a quarter of its income from trade. Nearly 80 percent went to China.

On Tuesday, 12 September, Japan and South Korea disclosed that after the passage of the US-drafted Security Council resolution they were prepared to apply more pressure if Pyongyang refused to end its aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. South Korea’s presidential Blue House disclosed on Tuesday that the only way for Pyongyang to end diplomatic isolation and become free of economic pressure was to end its nuclear programme and resume dialogue. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also quickly welcomed the resolution and stated after the vote that it was important to change North Korea’s policy by imposing a higher level of pressure. However, China’s official Xinhua news agency disclosed in a commentary that the Trump administration was making a mistake by rejecting diplomatic engagement with the North. Xinhua stated, “the US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an ‘endless loop’ on the Korean peninsula where nuclear missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests.”

On Monday, Pyongyang warned the US that it would pay a “due price” for spearheading efforts on UN sanctions over its nuclear programme, which it said was part of “legitimate self-defensive measures.” In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the foreign ministry disclosed that “the world will witness how (North Korea) tames the US gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged.” However North Korea did not issue a response immediately after the adoption of the latest resolution.