North Korea slapped with toughest-ever UN sanctions after fifth nuclear test

Author: China National News

Published: Friday December 2nd, 2016

 

 

  • Sanctions will cut North Korea’s revenue by more than $800 million per year
  • United Nations Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions on Thursday
  • Resolution comes three months after North Korea’s fifth and most power nuclear test

PYONGYANG, North Korea – In a bid to hamper North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations Security Council has imposed its toughest sanctions ever on the reclusive nation, three months after it conducted its fifth and most power nuclear test so far.

The defiant nation has pursued on its path to develop nuclear weapons and has been issuing strong nuclear threats to its neighbor and long time rival South Korea and its chief ally U.S. and Japan.

According to the latest resolution by the UN Security Council, the Sanctions are set to chop North Korea’s revenue by more than $800 million per year.

Reports added that the resolution was headed by the United States and was adopted unanimously by a 15-0 vote after tough negotiations with China, which is seen as North Korea’s only ally in the region.

In a speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the Security Council had “taken strong action on one of the most enduring and pressing peace and security challenges of our time. Today’s resolution includes the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions regime ever imposed by the Security Council.”

The sanctions were aimed at capping the country’s main external revenue source, its coal exports.

As per the resolution, North Korea is required to “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”

The country will also be restricted from exporting more than 7.5 million tonnes of coal in 2017.

This, experts noted would be a significant reduction of 62 percent from export numbers recored in the year 2015.

UN experts further said that limiting the nation’s coal and non-ferrous metals like copper by a huge margin would reduce North Korea’s revenue by more than $800 million per year.

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the UN said, “No resolution in New York will likely, tomorrow, persuade Pyongyang to cease its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons. But this resolution imposes unprecedented costs on the DPRK regime for defying this Council’s demands. In total, this resolution will slash by at least $800 million per year the hard currency that the DPRK has to fund its prohibited weapons programs, which constitutes a full 25 percent of the DPRK’s entire export revenues.”

With the country’s economy set to take a hit – UN believes that its funding for nuclear and ballistic weapon testing would also take a massive hit.

The council is also reportedly targeting officials, companies and diplomats involved in nuclear proliferation activities, smuggling and selling of illegal arms and ammunitions to fund North Korea.

Commenting on the sanctions, China, that imported 1.8 million tonnes of coal worth $101 million from North Korea in October alone said it would “seriously” implement the new UN sanctions.

The country, which is a veto-wielding permanent Security Council member said that it had a ‘responsible attitude’, with the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang saying that the country had always implemented UNSC resolutions and fulfilled “its international obligations according to the UN charter.”

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said in a statement that he supports the new council resolution.

Adding that the resolution “reflects the international community’s intention to take tough measures that are in a completely different dimension from past ones.”

The South Korean government on the other hand urged North Korea to heed the international community’s warning to stop its nuclear program, warning its neighbor of further consequences if it fails to oblige.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said, “It will not only face more economic difficulties and diplomatic isolation, but it would also see its rights and privileges as a member of the UN suspended”.

South Korea is also imposing additional unilateral sanctions as well.

North Korea has vowed to build a ballistic missile arsenal with nuclear weapons, and has carried out two hugely controversial nuclear weapons tests making constant ‘war’ threats to its neighbour South Korea and the West.

Shocking the world on September 9, North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test, leading to wide-spread international outrage and calls for a tighter round of sanctions, especially from the United States and South Korea.

The nuclear test came merely eight months after its fourth test, conducted in January this year.

Pyongyang had then said in a statement that the test had “finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of (a) nuclear warhead that has been standardised to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets.”

The North had also stated, “The standardisation of the nuclear warhead will enable (North Korea) to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power. This has definitely put on a higher level (the North’s) technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.”

What shocked the world was that South Korea’s weather agency estimated then that “the explosive yield of the North Korean blast would have been 10 to 12 kilotons, or 70 to 80 percent of the force of the 15-kiloton atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.”

Apart from the two provocative nuclear tests, between April 15 and October 20, North Korea has test fired the Musudan missiles eight times, but only the launch on June 22 recorded success.

The Musudan missile, with a design range of 1,500 to 2,500 miles, is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea, Japan and even the U.S. territory of Guam.

The country has shown no willingness to engage in dialogue on the nuclear issue and recently warned the U.S. in a letter that it would not disarm.

Rodong Sinmun, a major North Korean newspaper had said in a commentary, “Washington’s hope for North Korea’s denuclearization is an outdated illusion.”

 

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