New Sanctions Punish North Korea
North Korea is facing another set of tough sanctions for its continued defiance of the international community and for its notorious intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing.
The United Nations Security Council on Saturday passed Resolution 2371 which garnered 15-0 votes. Russia and China joined the countries passing the resolution, showing opposition to the regime’s continued violations of international laws.
The punishing measures will hurt the already-isolated North Korean economy, especially the regime’s primary export industry, including coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It is expected the sanctions will slash North Korea’s annual export revenue of $3 billion by more than a third.
US ambassador to the United Nations described the new set of sanctions as “the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test.”
The latest resolution was a direct reaction to two North Korean tests last month of intercontinental ballistic missiles that appeared capable of reaching the United States.
US and South Korea Celebrate Vote
U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the vote in a Twitter message on Saturday evening.
Trump wrote, “Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea. Very happy and impressed with 15-0 United Nations vote on North Korea sanctions. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!”
Referring to the resolution, the White House said in a later statement that the president “appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage.” The U.S. president “will continue to work with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to ends its threatening and destabilizing behavior,” it said.
North Korea’s Reactions
As expected, North Korea was not happy about the tough sanctions. The regime condemned the fresh sanctions, saying it would not negotiate over nuclear arms while threatened by the United States. The communist nation also vowed revenge.
Pyongyang described the sanctions as a “violent violation of our sovereignty” in a statement carried by its official Korean Central News Agency.
“We will not put our self-defensive nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table” while facing threats from Washington, “and will never take a single step back from strengthening our nuclear might.”
US On Denuclearizing North Korea
The 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.
That 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, many countries have intercepted and seized tons of contraband cargo, including a massive arms shipment uncovered by Thailand in December. These interdictions show that some countries are taking seriously their obligations to enforce tough measures. The United States says it will continue to press on sanctions implementation until there is concrete, verifiable progress on denuclearization.