UN adopts new sanctions against DPRK

World Today

UN DPRK Sanctions U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley votes in favor of a resolution, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at United Nations headquarters. The Security Council is voting on proposed new sanctions against DPRK, including sharply lower limits on its refined oil imports, the return home of all North Koreans working overseas within 12 months, and a crackdown on the country’s shipping. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against DPRK on Friday in response to its latest launch of a ballistic missile that Pyongyang says is capable of reaching anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

CGTN’s Liling Tan reports from New York. 

The new sanctions approved in the council resolution include sharply lower limits on DPRK’s oil imports, the return home of all DPRK working overseas within 24 months, and a crackdown on ships smuggling banned items including coal and oil to and from the country.

“We believe maximum pressure today is our best lever to a political and diplomatic solution tomorrow … (and) our best antidote to the risk of war,” said France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre.

But the resolution doesn’t include even harsher measures sought by the Trump administration that would ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The resolution, drafted by the United States and negotiated with China, drew criticism from Russia for the short time the 13 other council nations had to consider the text, and last-minute changes to the text. One of those changes was raising the deadline for DPRK workers to return home from 12 months to 24 months.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the vote that “the unity this council has shown in leveling these unprecedented sanctions is a reflection of the international outrage at the Kim regime’s actions.”

The resolution caps crude oil imports at 4 million barrels a year. And it caps imports of refined oil products, including diesel and kerosene, at 500,000 barrels a year. This represents a nearly 90 percent ban of refined products, which are key to DPRK’s economy, and a reduction from the 2 million barrels a year the council authorized in September.

The new sanctions also ban the export of food products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stones, wood and vessels from DPRK. And it bans all countries from exporting industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to the country.

DPRK’s test on Nov. 29 of its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile yet was its 20th launch of a ballistic missile this year, and added to fears that the North will soon have a military arsenal that can viably target the U.S. mainland.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the Security Council is sending “a very strong united signal to the DPRK regime that enough is enough, that they must stop their nuclear program and they must stop their intercontinental ballistic missile program.”

The previous sanctions resolution was adopted on Sept. 11 in response o DPRK’s sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion on Sept. 3.

Haley said at the time that the Trump administration believed those new sanctions, combined with previous measures, would ban over 90 percent of DPRK’s exports reported in 2016.

Those new sanctions banned DPRK from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates. It also banned all textile exports and prohibited any country from authorizing new work permits for DPRK workers — two key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

The U.S. Mission said a cutoff on new work permits would eventually cost DPRK about $500 million a year once current work permits expire. The United States estimated about 93,000 DPRK nationals are working abroad, a U.S. official said.

The resolution approved Friday expresses concern that the foreign earnings from these workers are being used to support the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. It requires all countries to send DPRK workers and safety monitors home by the end of 2019.

Story by the Associated Press.

Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the Center for East Asia Policy Studies, joined CGTN to talk about the newest U.N. sanctions against DPRK.