UN Imposes Tough Sanctions on North Korea

By Parameswaran Ponnudurai
2013-03-07
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China's U.N. envoy Li Baodong votes at a U.N. Security Council meeting to impose tough sanctions on North Korea, March 7, 2013.
AFP

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday ordered tighter restrictions on North Korea's financial activities and thorough inspections of air and sea cargo headed to the country as part of stiff sanctions for conducting its third illicit nuclear test last month.

The sanctions were contained in a resolution adopted by all 15 Council members, including North Korea's top ally China.

They "will bite and bite hard" and increase Pyongyang's isolation and raise the cost to its young leader Kim Jong Un of defying the international community, U.S. envoy to the U.N. Susan Rice said.

"The entire world stands united in our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and in our demand that North Korea comply with its international obligations," she said after the unanimous adoption of the resolution, according to a transcript of her remarks provided by the U.S. mission to the U.N.

The Security Council also committed Thursday to further "significant measures" if Kim conducts another nuclear or missile test.

China's U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said Beijing wanted to see "full implementation" of the new resolution amid indications that Beijing is getting more annoyed with Pyongyang’s defiant behavior.

But Li called for a resumption of the stalled six-party aid-for-disarmament talks between the two Koreas, United States, China, Russia and Japan.

"We want to see full implementation of the resolution," Li told reporters, according to Reuters news agency. "The top priority now is to defuse the tension, bring down heat, focus on the diplomatic track."

'Pre-emptive nuclear strike'

Just before the U.N. Security Council vote, Pyongyang warned of "a pre-emptive" nuclear attack on the United States but the White House said Washington was "fully capable" of dealing with such attacks and that North Korean threats would only lead to its further international isolation.

The North's military "will exercise the right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors," Pyongyang's foreign ministry warned.

A ministry spokesman said that a second Korean war was "unavoidable," as both the United States and its ally South Korea have refused Pyongyang's demands to cancel large-scale joint military exercises.

The warning came two days after Pyongyang threatened to tear apart the 1953 armistice agreement ending the Korean War.

North Korea has also launched military and civilian drills and clamped down overseas travel by both residents and officials, including to neighboring China.

The latest moves followed the launching by the United States and South Korea of a two-month field training exercise called "Foal Eagle" last week. Separately, the two allies will conduct computer-simulated drills code-named "Key Resolve" from March 11-21.

Highlights of the U.N. Security Council resolution:

Financial sanctions:

--- Requires states to freeze or block any financial transaction or financial service that could contribute to North Korea's illicit programs or the violation of Security Council resolutions.

--- Calls on states to prohibit the opening of North Korean bank branches on their territories if there is a link to North Korea's illicit programs or the violation of Security Council resolutions.

--- Calls on states to prohibit their financial institutions from opening offices in North Korea if there is a link to North Korea's illicit programs or the violation of Security Council resolutions.

--- Determines that financial sanctions apply to bulk cash transfers, including through cash couriers (a common way that North Korea has moved illicit funds).

Interdiction:

--- Requires states to inspect suspicious North Korean cargo in their territories, if the state has reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains prohibited items such as conventional arms, nuclear- or ballistic missile-related items.

--- Requires states to deny port access to any North Korean vessel that refuses to be inspected or any other vessel that has refused an inspection authorized by that vessel's flag state.

--- Calls on states to deny permission to any aircraft to take off, land in or overfly their territory if the aircraft is suspected of transporting prohibited items for North Korea.

Other Measures

--- Determines that existing sanctions against North Korea prohibit brokering sales of prohibited items such as conventional arms and nuclear- and ballistic missile-related items.

--- Requires states to expel North Koreans determined to be working for a designated individual or entity or who is violating existing sanctions.

--- Calls on states to exercise enhanced vigilance over North Korean diplomats to prevent them from contributing to North Korea's nuclear or ballistic missile-programs.

--- Prohibited luxury goods are banned for transfer to North Korea, including certain kinds of jewelry and precious stones, yachts, luxury automobiles and racing cars.