What's In Blue

Posted Wed 6 Mar 2013

DPRK (North Korea): Adoption of New Sanctions Resolution

Tomorrow morning, 7 March, the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution that will tighten some of the existing sanctions provisions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and impose additional measures in response to its 12 February nuclear test.

The resolution, which was put in blue this afternoon, also extends the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 Sanctions Committee on the DPRK until 7 April 2014 and increases the number of experts from seven to eight. (The Panel’s current mandate expires on 12 July). If adopted, this will be the fourth round of sanctions imposed against DPRK since 2006.

It had been expected since the day of the nuclear test that the Council would impose additional measures against the DPRK but the exact timing had been unclear. In a press statement on 12 February (SC/10912), Council members strongly condemned the test as a grave violation of resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087, recalled that resolution 2087 expressed the Council’s determination to take “significant action” in the event of a further nuclear test by the DPRK and said they would begin work immediately on an appropriate response in a resolution.

As in the past, the draft resolution was first negotiated between China and the US before being presented to the other Council members during consultations on 5 March.
It seems there was general support for the initial draft and only very minor adjustments are expected in the final text. In light of the DPRK’s increasingly bellicose language targeting in particular the US and the Republic of Korea since the nuclear test was conducted, Council members appear firmly behind the proposed tougher measures.

The draft resolution condemns in the strongest terms the 12 February nuclear test. It also reiterates the Council’s previous demands that the DPRK retract its withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and abandon all nuclear weapons and other nuclear programs as well as weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles programs.There is also a specific reference to the Council acting under Chapter VII and taking measures under its Article 41 (which includes sanctions and other non-military measures if the parties fail to comply with the resolution).

A main objective of the draft appears to be a tightening of some of the existing sanctions provisions under resolution 1718 either by expanding their scope (in terms of sanctioned weapons, materials and activities) or using more restrictive language such as ”demands that” instead of “calls upon”. This includes an expansion of the travel ban to also apply to any individual acting on behalf of a designated individual or entity or individuals violating the relevant sanctions provisions and in the case of DPRK nationals, requiring states to expel such individuals from their territory. (The text contains an exception, however, for DPRK officials travelling to the UN to conduct UN business.)

Furthermore, the draft also designates an additional three individuals as subject to the travel ban and asset freeze and two entities as subject to the asset freeze. It also includes a list of additional items, materials, equipment, goods and technology as well as luxury items which will now be subject to sanctions.

In terms of new provisions, the resolution calls on states to prohibit DPRK banks from operating on their territory as well as prohibiting financial institutions under their jurisdiction from operating in the DPRK. (This is similar to a provision under the Iran sanctions regime.) It also calls on states to take measures to prevent the transfer of bulk cash that can be used for prohibited activities.

Additionally, the resolution would place new obligations on states not only to inspect cargo to and from the DPRK if there are grounds to believe that the cargo contains materials prohibited under existing Council resolutions, but also to deny entry to their ports of any vessel refusing inspection. It also calls on states to deny permission for airplanes to take off, land or use their air space if there are reasons to believe that they carry prohibited items.

In addition, the draft would call on states to exercise enhanced vigilance over DPRK diplomatic personnel to prevent them from engaging in activities that may support their country’s nuclear or ballistic program.

The next 90-day report to the Council by the Chair of the 1718 Sanctions Committee is due in May.

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