The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution condemning North Korea’s rocket launch in December.
Reports say the resolution also includes new sanctions on North Korea’s Pyongyang space agency.
The multi-stage rocket using ballistic missile technology is reportedly part of a covert program to develop ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.
The Council reiterated its call for North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
More Sanctions On North Korea
In her remarks at a Security Council Stakeout following adoption of Resolution 2087 on North Korea, Ambassador Susan E. Rice says the resolution adopted today condemns the launch and imposes important new sanctions on North Korea, on its companies and government agencies, including North Korea’s space agency, which was responsible for the launch, a bank, and North Korean individuals.
She says the resolution also updates current lists of nuclear and ballistic missile technology banned for transfer to and from the DPRK, helping ensure that North Korea is unable to procure or proliferate the most sensitive technology.
In addition, the resolution also includes several new provisions targeting North Korea’s illicit procurement efforts, in particular its smuggling of sensitive items that could contribute to prohibited programs, and it has new financial provisions that help to increase vigilance and monitoring over North Korean financial activities.
“This resolution demonstrates to North Korea that there are unanimous and significant consequences for its flagrant violation of its obligations under previous resolutions.” – Ms. Rice
She adds that more importantly, the provisions of this resolution both new sanctions and the tightening and expanding of existing measures concretely help to impede the growth of North Korea’s WMD program and reduce the threat of proliferation by targeting entities and individuals directly involved in these programs.
According to Ms. Rice, the new resolution also makes clear that if North Korea chooses again to defy the international community, such as by conducting another launch or a nuclear test, then the Council will take significant action.
The US believes that today’s resolution is a firm, united, and appropriate response to North Korea’s reckless act and that strict enforcement of sanctions is essential to address the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The US remains committed to resolving concerns about these programs through authentic and credible negotiations to the greatest extent possible.
U.S. Offers A Path To Peace
Ms. Rice also noted that the United States is willing to extend its hand should the leadership in Pyongyang opt for the path of peace and progress by choosing to let go of its nuclear weapons.
“Today’s resolution makes clear that there will be an increasingly steep price to pay if North Korea again chooses confrontation with this Council and the international community.” – Ms. Rice
China Joins In Approval Of Sanctions
Reports say China also joined in approving the resolution. The new resolution is also the first resolution in four years to expand the sanctions regime on North Korea.
The United States has slammed the North Korea fire “satellite” rocket launch last month.
Ms. Rice said another launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region.
Any North Korean launch using ballistic missile technology is in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1718 and 1874.
The UN Security Council Presidential Statement adopted unanimously on April 16, 2012 strongly condemned North Korea’s April 13 launch and expressed its determination to take action accordingly in the event of a further launch.
The United States is consulting closely with its Six-Party and other key allies and partners on next steps.
North Korea Announced The Launch In Advance
In March 2012, North Korea had announced a plan to carry out a missile launch in April, to mark the 100th birthday of its late leader, Kim Il-sung.
The announcement sparked condemnation from the United States and the international community.
The United States said the launching would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding that North Korea stop launching rockets that use long-range intercontinental ballistic missile technology, like the one that would carry the satellite to space.
Reports say the United States and the Security Council have condemned such satellite launchings in the past, as a cover for developing the missiles, which reportedly could be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology.
Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches.
United States remains committed to a denuclearized North Korea that respects the rights of its citizens.
In June 2009, the United Nations unanimously adopted resolution 1874, imposing stricter sanctions on the recalcitrant regime.
The new resolution has 34 points, the first of which “Condemns in the strongest terms the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 25 May 2009 (local time) in violation and flagrant disregard of its relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 1695 (2006) and 1718 (2006), and the statement of its President of 13 April 2009 (S/PRST/2009/7).”
Since the adoption of Resolution 1874, countries have intercepted and seized tons of contraband cargo, including a massive arms shipment uncovered by Thailand in December. These interdictions show that countries are taking seriously their obligations to enforce these tough new measures. The United States will continue to press on sanctions implementation until there is concrete, verifiable progress on denuclearization.
Advancing human rights is a top U.S. priority in US North Korea policy as well and is among the primary factors that will determine if any long-term improvement between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be possible.