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Focus on Regulation

UN Security Council Ratchets Up Sanctions on North Korea

logoOn March 2, in the wake of recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, the United Nations Security Council adopted a far-reaching sanctions resolution against the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK).

UN Security Council Resolution 2270 targets Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with a set of sanctions that the U.S. proclaimed the strongest imposed by the Security Council in two decades.

Member states are called upon to enforce the following measures:

  • Establishing mandatory inspections for ALL cargo going in and out of North Korea, or that is being transported on DPRK-flagged vessels or aircraft;
  • Banning the supply of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel, to North Korea;
  • Limiting or banning exports of coal, iron, gold, titanium, vanadium and rare earth minerals from North Korea;
  • Banning the leasing or chartering of vessels or aircraft or providing crew services to the DPRK;
  • Banning the export of additional items classified as “luxury goods” to North Korea;
  • Banning the supply of small arms, light weapons, and related materiel and services to North Korea;
  • Authorizing the expulsion of North Korean diplomats or governmental representatives if it is determined that they are working on behalf of or at the direction of a designated entity or assisting in the evasion of sanctions;
  • Prohibiting specialized training of any DPRK national in fields that could be used to advance the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including nuclear and space-related technical exchanges; and
  • Banning the supply of any items that could help bolster North Korea’s military.

Member states will also be required to shut down any branches of North Korean financial institutions operating in their territories.

The Resolution contains a number of annexes listing North Korean individuals and entities newly subject to travel bans and asset freezes, as well as North Korean vessels subject to asset freezes.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of the new sanctions will rely upon the willingness of China, the DPRK’s main trading partner, to enforce the Resolution, though other countries, including the Philippines, have already taken action to enforce Resolution 2270.

Meanwhile, on the same day that Resolution 2270 passed, the U.S. imposed sanctions on several North Korean government officials and organization tied to its missile and nuclear programs. The Treasury and State Department designations were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets WMD proliferators and their supporters, as well as E.O. 13687, which targets the Government of North Korea, the Workers’ Party of Korea, and their supporters.

As a result, all assets of those persons and entities designated by the U.S. that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with these persons.

These steps come on the heels of statutory sanctions enacted by the U.S. Congress that were signed into law by President Obama on February 18. Our analysis of this legislation, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, can be read here.

Special thanks to Ari Fridman and Adam Berry for their contributions to this post.