DPRK (North Korea)
On 17 September, the Council held an open briefing on the implementation of sanctions on the DPRK. The US requested the meeting to address issues related to the midterm report of the Panel of Experts. Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo briefed on recent efforts to denuclearise the Korean peninsula. During the meeting, the US accused Russia of pressuring the panel to modify its report, which described sanctions violations by some Russian actors, and called on the panel to publish its original report. Russia dismissed the allegations and said that the US interfered in the panel’s work by preventing the circulation of the latest version of the report to the wider UN membership. On 27 September, the Council held a ministerial-level meeting on efforts to denuclearise the DPRK. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed on the ongoing diplomatic engagement and stressed the importance of maintaining pressure on the DPRK until it takes concrete steps towards denuclearisation.
On 30 August, the chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Karel van Oosterom (Netherlands), briefed the Council in consultations on the work of the committee during the past three months. The briefing was primarily focused on developments related to the work of the committee, the implementation of the sanctions, and the midterm report of the Panel of Experts circulated to the committee earlier in August. Council members also discussed the ongoing diplomatic efforts on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
On 11 December, the Council held its fourth meeting on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The briefers were the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (by video teleconference) and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča. The meeting was convened in response to a joint letter from France, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK, the US and Uruguay. At the beginning of the meeting there was a procedural vote to adopt the agenda at the request of several members, which was subsequently adopted with 10 votes in favour, three against (Bolivia, China and Russia) and two abstentions (Egypt and Ethiopia). On 12 December, the Council was briefed in consultations by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on his visit to the DPRK from 5 to 8 December. It was the first visit by a senior Secretariat official since 2011. While in Pyongyang, Feltman met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Ri Yong Ho and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Pak Myong Guk. He also met with the UN country team and diplomatic corps and visited UN project sites. On 15 December, the Council held a ministerial-level meeting on the “Threats and Challenges posed by the DPRK to International Peace and Security”, with Secretary-General António Guterres as the briefer. Japanese Foreign Minister Tarō Kōno chaired the meeting, and the DPRK and the Republic of Korea participated under Rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Council. The Secretary-General warned that an accidental escalation could lead to conflict on the Korean peninsula and emphasised that it was time to re-establish and strengthen communications channels, including inter-Korean and military-to-military ones in order to lower the risk of miscalculation or misunderstanding. On 22 December the Council adopted resolution 2397 tightening sanctions on DPRK (S/PV.8151).
On 4 September, the Council was briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on the DPRK’s 2 September nuclear test. On 11 September, the Council unanimouslyadopted resolution 2375 expanding sanctions to additional sectors of the North Korean economy in response to the nuclear test. The resolution prohibits the import of textiles produced in North Korea, bans gas exports, and sets a limit on the exports of petroleum products and crude oil to that country. It also includes new tools to stop high seas smuggling of prohibited goods. Furthermore, it strengthens prohibitions on employing North Korean workers abroad and demands the closing of joint ventures with North Korea, with certain exceptions to be determined by the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee. In addition, the resolution freezes the assets and imposes a travel ban on one individual and three entities. Following the launch by the DPRK on 14 September of a ballistic missile which flew over Japan, the Council held consultations on 15 September. In the press statement, members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent launches, condemned further the DPRK for its outrageous actions, and demanded that it immediately cease all such actions and comply with all UN resolutions. It expressed grave concern that by conducting such a launch over Japan, as well as its recent actions and public statements, the DPRK was deliberately undermining regional peace and stability and these actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all UN member states.
On 5 August, the Council adopted resolution 2371 condemning the 3 and 28 July ballistic missile launches (S/PV.8019). The resolution significantly strengthened the sanctions on the DPRK. It imposed a full ban on the export of coal, iron and iron ore from the DPRK, whereas previously these items could be exported for livelihood purposes, with a cap on the amount of coal that could be exported. It also prohibited the export of lead, lead ore and seafood from the DPRK. It freezed the number of work authorisations for DPRK laborers working abroad at current levels, unless the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee approves on a case-by-case basis additional authorisations to allow for purposes such as the delivery of humanitarian assistance or denuclearisation. It decided that states shall prohibit the formation of joint ventures or cooperative commercial entities on their territory or by their nationals with DPRK individuals or entities. In addition, the resolution designated several additional individuals for a travel ban and assets freeze, and additional entities for an assets freeze. It further requested INTERPOL to issue “special notices” regarding designated individuals and directed the sanctions committee to work with INTERPOL toward that end. The resolution was adopted unanimously. On 29 August, Council members held consultations following the DPRK’s firing earlier that day of a missile over the territory of Japan. Later that afternoon, the Council met in a formal session to adopt a presidential statement condemning the launch and urging the DPRK to comply with previous Council resolutions and presidential statements.
On 2 June, the Council adopted resolution 2356, condemning “in the strongest terms” the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development activities, including missile launches, conducted by the DPRK in “flagrant disregard” of relevant Council resolutions since 9 September 2016, the date of Pyongyang’s last nuclear test. The resolution added 14 individuals and four entities to the targeted sanctions list under the 1718 DPRK sanctions regime. After the adoption, all Council members spoke explaining their vote. The 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee announced on 1 June that it had amended four entries on its sanctions list, and on 5 June it announced the amendment of another two entries.
In a 15 May press statement, Council members condemned the missile launches conducted by the DPRK on 28 April and 13 May. On 16 May, they received a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča during consultations. That same day, the DPRK sent a letter to the Secretary-General referring to the 13 May launch as a legitimate exercise of the right to self-defence and “categorically and totally” rejected the press statement. In a 22 May press statement, Council members condemned the DPRK’s 21 May missile launch and called on the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee “to redouble its efforts to improve global implementation of all measures, including by implementing the relevant feasible recommendations of the Panel of Experts as soon as possible” (SC/12831). On 23 May, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed Council members during consultations on the missile launch. In that same meeting, the chair of the Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), presented his 90-day report on the work of the Committee. The Committee held informal consultations on 10 May to discuss the recommendations contained in the latest report from its Panel of Experts. It also continued the series of regional outreach meetings initiated in March as a follow-up to paragraph 44 of resolution 2321, adopted in response to the 9 September 2016 nuclear test, which requested the Committee “to hold special meetings on important thematic and regional topics and member states’ capacity challenges”. The Committee met with the African Group on 1 May, the Western European and Others Group on 12 May, and the Asia-Pacific Group on 26 May. It had previously met with the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries and the Eastern European Group.
On 6 April, Council members issued a press statement condemning the DPRK’s 4 April launch of what appeared to be a medium-range missile. They reiterated that such activities contribute to increasing tensions in the region and beyond as well as to the risk of a regional arms race, emphasised the importance of the DPRK’s “showing sincere commitment to denuclearisation”, and again called on member states to redouble their efforts to implement sanctions. In a 7 April letter to the Council, the DPRK accused the US of engaging in “aggressive schemes” that amounted to a declaration of war and warned of a pre-emptive strike. On 10 April, the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee convened a meeting with the Eastern European Group as a follow-up to paragraph 44 of resolution 2321, adopted in response to the 9 September 2016 nuclear test, which requested the Committee “to hold special meetings on important thematic and regional topics and member states’ capacity challenges. In a 20 April press statement, Council members condemned the DPRK’s 15 April failed missile launch and expressed their intention to consider imposing additional sanctions. On 28 April, at the initiative of the US, the Council held a ministerial-level meeting on the denuclearization of the DPRK (S/PV.7932) with a briefing by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Ahead of the meeting, the US circulated a concept note inviting Council members “to discuss ways to maximize the impact of existing Council measures and show their resolve to respond to further provocations with significant new measures.” The meeting was chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said in his national statement that the time had come “to put new pressure on North Korea to abandon its dangerous path” and urged the Council to act.
In a 7 March press statement, Council members condemned the ballistic missile launches conducted by the DPRK on 5 March. In a 23 March press statement, they condemned the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch of 21 March and the ballistic missile engine test of 19 March. Both statements noted that such activities contribute to increasing tension in the region and beyond as well as the risk of a regional arms race, and emphasised the importance of the DPRK “showing sincere commitment to denuclearisation.” The statements also called on member states to redouble their efforts to implement the sanctions measures imposed by the Council. On 23 March, in resolution 2345, the Council renewed for another 13 months the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee. On 31 March, the Committee convened a meeting with the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries as a follow-up to paragraph 44 of resolution 2321, adopted in response to the 9 September 2016 nuclear test, which requested the Committee “to hold special meetings on important thematic and regional topics and member states’ capacity challenges”.
On 2 February, the chair of the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), held a briefing open to all UN member states, with the Panel of Experts’ coordinator, Hugh Griffiths. Cardi explained the new sanctions measures in resolution 2321 and reminded member states of their upcoming reporting obligations, while Griffiths spoke about the work of the Panel. In response to an 11 February missile launch conducted by the DPRK, Council members held consultations on 13 February at the request of Japan, the ROK and the US, with a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča. In a subsequent press statement , members condemned the 11 February missile launches as grave violations of the DPRK’s international obligations and relevant Council resolutions. It reiterated the language of previous statements, including a call on states to redouble their efforts to implement the sanctions imposed by the Council, in particular the comprehensive measures of resolutions 2270 and 2321. In a 15 February letter to the Secretary-General asserting that the missile launch was a “self-defensive measure”, the DPRK “categorically” rejected the press statement. The Sanctions Committee met on 16 February to discuss the Panel of Experts’ final report under resolution 2276. According to the report, sanctions implementation remains insufficient and inconsistent, with the DPRK retaining access to the international banking system, and designated entities on the sanctions list continuing to operate. Despite the new sectoral sanctions imposed by the Council last year, the report found that the DPRK has continued to export banned minerals and that coal exports increased from 2015 to 2016. The Panel concluded that support for strengthening the sanctions had not been matched by political will and resources to ensure effective implementation. Among other things, it recommended the designation of additional individuals and entities and the creation of a separate list of designated vessels, to be updated on a regular basis. The Panel also recommended that the Committee issue an Implementation Assistance Notice to clarify which minerals are covered by the import ban. On 27 February the chair of the Sanctions Committee briefed Council members in consultations on the work of the Committee.
On 9 December, the Council held a meeting on the human rights situation in the DPRK, with briefings by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour). The meeting was convened in response to a joint request from France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, Ukraine, the UK, the US and Uruguay conveyed in a 1 December letter to the Council president. At the beginning of the meeting there was a procedural vote to adopt the agenda at the request of China, which said that the Security Council was not “a forum for discussing human rights issues, still less for the politicisation of such issues.” The agenda was subsequently adopted by a vote of five against (Angola, China, Egypt, Russia and Venezuela), one abstention (Senegal) and nine in favour. On 2 December, the DPRK sent a letter to the Council rejecting the sanctions resolution adopted on 30 November 2016. On 15 December 2016, the Sanctions Committee adopted the list of conventional arms dual-use items referred to in one of the provisions of resolution 2321, which had directed the Committee to adopt such a list within 15 days of the adoption. The items on the list are subject to the import and export ban first imposed by the Council in resolution 1718. On 17 December, the Committee announced the removal of five vessels from the sanctions list annexed to resolution 2270, citing new measures that had been taken to establish confidence that the vessels were not controlled or operated by the Ocean Maritime Management Company, the entity that was listed by the Committee in July 2014 for its involvement in the arms shipment intercepted by Panama in July 2013. On 21 December, the Committee submitted its annual report to the Council.