North Korea could get hit with its toughest United Nations sanctions yet
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council could slap North Korea with the broadest array of sanctions the county has ever received.
The United States had asked the Security Council to vote Tuesday on the proposed sanctions, according to the U.S. mission to the United Nations. That won’t happen now, because Russia blocked the vote for 24 hours, according to the U.S. mission. However, members are expected to weigh in Wednesday, the mission said.
Security Council members are agitated by North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests — both of which defied current international sanctions.
“These sanctions, if adopted, would send an unambiguous and unyielding message to the DPRK regime: The world will not accept your proliferation,” said Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “There will be consequences for your actions, and we will work relentlessly and collectively to stop your nuclear program.”
The U.S. mission to the United Nations said the proposed resolution would be the strongest set of sanctions issued by the Security Council in more than 20 years.
According to a breakdown of the text obtained by CNN, the proposed sanctions include:
— Banning Pyongyang from exporting most of the country’s natural resources used to generate money for the regime’s nuclear and missile programs. That includes coal, iron, gold and titanium.
— Asking member states to ban North Korea from opening banks and to close any banks believed to be associated with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
— Directing U.N. member states to expel North Korean diplomats and foreign nationals engaged in illicit activities. The draft also prohibits providing training to North Korean nationals in fields such as aerospace engineering and advanced computer simulation.
— Banning member states from allowing North Korea to charter foreign vessels or aircraft and banning all nations from operating any vessels that use North Korean flags.
— Prohibiting flights and port calls by any planes or vessels believed to be engaged in illicit activity with North Korea.
According to Power, the proposal also prohibits the supply of aviation fuel — including rocket fuel — to North Korea, prohibits the sale of small arms to North Korea and requires all cargo going in and out of North Korea to be inspected.
The defiant tests
In January, Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb in its fourth nuclear test.
In a signed letter broadcast on state-run media, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrote that he wanted to ring in the new year with, quite literally, a bang.
“For the victorious and glorious year of 2016 when the 7th convention of the Workers’ Party will be held, make the world look up to our strong nuclear country and labor party by opening the year with exciting noise of the first hydrogen bomb!” the letter read.
In February , Pyongyang said it had successfully launched an Earth satellite into orbit via the long-range Kwangmyongsong carrier rocket.
Fighting the regime, not the people
Power stressed that the resolution is not meant to punish the people of North Korea.
“The North Korean people have suffered so much already under one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known. Rather, this resolution focuses on a ruling elite that have inflicted so much of that suffering,” she said.
A U.S. official familiar with the text said the 22-page resolution lists 17 North Korean individuals and 12 North Korean entities that would be subject to sanctions. The people and companies are believed to be facilitators for North Korea’s weapons programs. Some operate overseas.
The company list includes the aerospace equivalent of NASA in Pyongyang. A major bank in North Korea suspected of conducting lots of financial transactions for the nation’s military nuclear and missile tests is also on the list, the official said. The sanctions would reportedly ban more luxury goods going into North Korea.
When asked whether the resolution would make a difference in North Korea’s behavior, the official expressed confidence.
“It will have an impact,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
The French ambassador to the United Nations described the resolution as “unprecedented.”
“I believe the conditions are now met for a strong and consensual reaction by the Security Council of the United Nations,” Ambassador Francois Delattre said.
“We believe we will soon have a resolution establishing unprecedented sanctions to break the cycle of irresponsible behavior by the North Korean regime, and to bring them back to the negotiation table.”