The Cable

U.N. Levies Harsh New Sanctions Against North Korea

The U.N. Security Council agreed to toughen trade restrictions and commercial ventures.

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The United States successfully pushed through a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at fully banning coal and iron exports to North Korea, barring the hiring of North Korean laborers to earn hard currency, and prohibiting new commercial cooperation or financial joint ventures with the Hermit Kingdom.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. envoy to the U.N., lauded the U.N.’s decision as “the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime.”

This time the council has matched its words and actions,” she said.

The resolution, obtained by Foreign Policy, condemns North Korea’s two most recent ballistic missile tests, themselves violations of existing U.N. resolutions, and would additionally ban travel and freeze the assets of several individuals with ties to North Korea’s financial sector and military. It also requests Interpol to issue special notices for the designated individuals, in addition to calling on member states to redouble implementation efforts.

It aims to cut off North Korea from one-third of its total exports, totaling around $1 billion.

The U.N. Security Council’s move comes on the heels of heightened rhetoric from President Donald Trump, in the wake of missile tests last month that suggest Pyongyang could attack the U.S. mainland. Trump has repeatedly called on China to do more to rein in North Korea, but so far this year Beijing has actually increased trade with Pyongyang. While China has been seeking another round of negotiations, the United States insists that North Korea end its nuclear-weapons program as a precondition for any talks. Haley declared late last month that the “time for talk is over.”

On Thursday, China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jiey hinted at Beijing’s decision to support the resolution, telling Reuters, “We have been working very hard for some time and we certainly hope that this is going to be a consensus resolution.” China and the United States typically try to reach consensus before bringing other council members in.

Haley cautioned the international community needed to do more to confront the North Korean regime. “We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close,” she said.

 

August 5, 2017: This article was updated after the U.N. Security Council vote.

FP’s Colum Lynch contributed to this post.

Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. @robbiegramer

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