North Korea hit with $1 billion ban on exports by UN security council in rare show of unity
he United Nations security council has approved new sanctions on North Korea, placing a $1 billion ban on the country’s exports which will cut the country’s revenues by a third.
The resolution was approved unanimously on Saturday, meaning that China and Russia abandoned their traditional support for North Korea and joined in a rare united show of force.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said that the resolution was "the single largest economic package ever levelled against the North Korean regime."Britain welcomed the sanctions, with Lord Ahmad, the minister for commonwealth and the UN, calling on all countries to implement the new measures “fully and robustly”.
“The UK and our international partners are united in opposing and standing firm against the threat posed by North Korea,” he said.
“This resolution will cut the resources that North Korea is abusing to fund its reckless and illegal pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
“North Korea has chosen this extremely dangerous and destabilising path. The regime is prioritising the pursuit of these weapons over and above its people, peace and stability in the region. The North Korean regime needs to change its course immediately.”Coal exports – North Korea’s largest source of income – will now be banned, costing the regime over $401 million in revenues per year.
Export of iron and iron ore, worth roughly $250 million per year, will be halted, as will exports of seafood worth $300 million and lead and lead ore, worth $110 million.
The resolution also bans countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean labourers - another source of money for Kim Jong-un's regime. It prohibits all new joint ventures with North Korean companies and bans new foreign investment in existing ones.
The security council has already imposed six rounds of sanctions that have failed to halt North Korea's drive to improve its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.
But it is hoped that Saturday’s sanctions, the text of which was jointly drafted by the US and China, may make Mr Kim think twice about his weapons programme.
Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, denied that previous sanctions had failed.
"We are gradually tightening the control over the North Korean regime," said Mr Rycroft.
"Sanctions take time to work. So I’m not pretending that tomorrow there will be a radically different position in relation to North Korea, but over time the sanctions demonstrate the unity of the international community, particularly if they are well implemented."Twice last month the country successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the US.
"All of this ICBM and nuclear irresponsibility has to stop," said Mrs Haley.
The resolution condemns the launches "in the strongest terms" and reiterates previous calls for North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile launches and abandon its nuclear weapons and nuclear programme "in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."
In addition, the security council text condemned Pyongyang for spending money on missiles while its people suffered. Well over half the population lacks sufficient food and medical care, while a quarter suffers from chronic malnutrition, according to the UN.
Nine North Koreans, mainly officials or representatives of companies and banks, were added to the UN sanctions blacklist, banning their travel and freezing their assets. It also imposes an asset freeze on two companies and two banks.
Yet, although the economic sanctions have teeth, Washington did not get everything it wanted.In early July, Mrs Haley told the security council that the international community could cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons programmes, increase air and maritime restrictions and hold senior officials accountable. Neither oil nor new air restrictions are included in the resolution.