New resolution calls for tougher financial sanctions on North

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New resolution calls for tougher financial sanctions on North

In response to North Korea’s third nuclear test, the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to decide on a draft resolution Thursday morning (Eastern Standard Time) in New York to impose tougher-than-ever financial restrictions on Pyongyang similar to measures against Iran through targeted smart sanctions.

The draft resolution to be voted on by the 15-member UNSC calls for a blocking of financial transactions or cash transfers that can contribute to the North’s nuclear programs.

The resolution will expand the list of blacklisted North Korean individuals and enterprises involved in weapons trade and toughen bans on luxury items exported to Pyongyang and inspections of cargo by air and sea to and from the country.

“If passed as was tabled, we view it as a good resolution that strengthens pre-existing disciplinary measures and includes new sanction elements,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Cho Tai-young at a press briefing yesterday.

“North Korea has to lend its ear to the stern voice of the international community expressed in pre-existing resolutions and the draft resolution,” said Cho. “[South] Korea and the international community did not drive North Korea into isolation, but North Korea chose itself to do so.”

The United Nations’ 192 member states will be obligated to block financial services and ban exports which could contribute to the North’s nuclear program or ballistic missile technology under the resolution if adopted.

Three more individuals are added to the blacklist, according to the draft resolution: Korea Mining Developing Trading Corporation’s chief representative Yon Chong-nam; deputy chief representative Ko Chol-chae; and Mun Chong-chol, a Tanchon Central Bank official. This brings the number of blacklisted individuals designated by the UNSC to 12.

Two more enterprises, the Second Academy of Natural Sciences, a weapons research and development institute, and the Korea Complex Equipment Import Corporation, a weapons acquisition company, are added to the list, bringing the number of blocked entities to 19.

Pyongyang’s successful launch of a three-stage rocket on Dec. 12, breaking the UN ban on North Korea testing ballistic missile capabilities, led to the UN Security Council adopting Resolution 2087 on Jan. 22, which included firmer sanctions on North Korea, including adding entities and individuals to its blacklists. The resolution drafted by the United States with the cooperation of China earlier this week has a high chance of passing due to cooperation between key players including support from Russia, said analysts.

In anticipation of the resolution, North Korea threatened to scrap the 1953 cease-fire that halted the Korean War and threatened nuclear strikes on South Korea and the U.S. ahead of joint military drills.

The draft specifies luxury items to be banned from Pyongyang include yachts, fancy automobiles such as racing cars and jewelry with precious gems or metals.

While a 2006 resolution already banned the export of luxury goods to North Korea, a lack of specifics led to Pyongyang circumventing the ban.

“China is still hesitant in areas in which it would directly clash with North Korea,” said a ministry official.

“The ban in exports of luxury goods was an area [China] was sensitive in approving because it will be a visible move against the North,” he added. “The effectiveness of the measures will depend on how much China complies.”

North Korea conducted its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006, leading to the unanimous adoption of UNSC Resolution 1718 imposing sanctions that prohibit the North from accessing heavy weaponry and equipment that might contribute to the North Korean nuclear and weapons of mass destruction programs.

Its second nuclear test in May 25, 2009, resulted in UNSC Resolution 1874, strengthening the established Resolution 1718.


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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