|The UN Security Council vote on sanctions against Pyongyang on November 30, 2016
UN Security Council resolution 2321 was passed unanimously on November 30, nearly 3 months after the DPRK conducted its 5th nuclear test. This is the Council’s 6th resolution targeting the DPRK.
Blocking foreign currency earners
The latest resolution aims to weaken the DPRK economy by cutting its annual coal exports by 60% equivalent to 7.5 million tons. Coal is one of the DPRK’s biggest hard currency earners.
The resolution also bans non-ferrous metals, including copper, nickel, silver, and zinc, and tightens marine and financial activities. The new punitive measures could cost the DPRK US$800 million a year.
Other measures target the DPRK officials and organizations suspected of involvement in the nuclear program. They are banned from traveling to other countries and their assets are frozen. Sponsoring trade transactions with the DPRK is prohibited and DPRK goods will face stricter scrutiny.
The UN is calling on all countries to reduce the number of DPRK diplomats they will allow and to place a cap on the number of the diplomats’ bank accounts. The resolution also threatens to revoke DPRK’s UN membership if violations continue.
US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK regime for defying the Council’s demands. Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said in a statement that resolution 2321 clearly demonstrates the international community’s will to respond in a more drastic manner than before.
UN resolution aims at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula
The UN began imposing sanctions against DPRK in 2006. Despite unilateral and multilateral measures, Pyongyang has gone ahead with its nuclear development program. Recently, nuclear and missile tests have been conducted more frequently. Since January, DPRK has carried out 2 nuclear and at least 25 ballistic missile tests, including satellite, submarine, and mid-range missile launches.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Security Council has "taken strong action on one of the most enduring and pressing peace and security challenges of our time."
But the Council leaves the door open for DPRK to return to the negotiating table and honor its demilitarization commitment through verifiable actions.