By Phillip Kurata
IIP Staff Writer
March 8, 2013
The U.N. Security Council has imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear test held February 12 in defiance of the international community.
“The strength, breadth and severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to North Korea of its illicit nuclear program and further constrain its ability to finance and source materials and technology for its ballistic missile, conventional and nuclear weapons programs,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. representative at the United Nations, March 7.
The Security Council vote in favor of the sanctions was unanimous, indicating that 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,” Rice said. She said the United Nations will take further action if North Korea conducts another nuclear test or missile launch.
The sanctions call for blocking North Korea from transferring money to pay for its nuclear and missile programs even if the money is carried by couriers in suitcases full of bulk cash, a common way that North Korea has moved illicit funds, according to a State Department fact sheet on Resolution 2094.
States are called upon to prohibit the opening in their territories of branches of North Korean banks with links to the country’s nuclear and weapons programs, making it harder for North Korea to launder money.
Similarly, the resolution calls on states to prohibit their financial institutions from opening branches in North Korea and requires them to withhold financial support for trade with North Korea if the trade is linked to North Korea’s banned weapons programs.
The resolution requires states to inspect cargo on ships and airplanes within or transiting their territory if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains prohibited items, such as conventional arms or items related to nuclear technology or ballistic missiles. Rice said airplanes carrying smuggled items can find themselves grounded and ships carrying prohibited cargo can be denied port access if they refuse to be inspected on the high seas.
In addition, the resolution encourages states to provide information to the Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee about actions by North Korean vessels or aircraft to evade sanctions, such as by renaming and reregistering.
If a North Korean agent is caught making arms deals or selling nuclear technology, countries will be required to expel that agent, Rice said. She added that countries must prevent travel by people working for companies involved in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The resolution also seeks to counter activities by North Korean diplomats to advance their country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. “It will now be much harder for such diplomats to procure technology or divert funds to the nuclear program without being detected and expelled,” she said. She added that the resolution names additional North Koreans and North Korean companies whose assets will be frozen and who will be subject to travel bans.
The resolution targets the opulent lifestyle of senior members of the North Korean regime while the North Korean population lives in poverty. Certain kinds of jewelry and precious stones, yachts, luxury automobiles and racing cars have been banned for transfer to North Korea, according to the fact sheet on the resolution.
“Taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard,” Rice said. “They increase North Korea’s isolation and raise the cost to North Korea’s leaders of defying the international community.”