NEW YORK, 11 SEPTEMBER – A complicate unanimous vote, and once again the international community spoke with one voice against the nuclear and ballistic ambitions of North Korea. With all its 15 votes the UN Security Council adopted a new resolution to put pressure on the Pyongyang regime to desist on its nuclear program.
“Half measures against North Korea don’t work”,said the US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley, whose delegation drafted the resolution and called for a vote on the “symbolic date” of September 11. “These are the strongest measures ever adopted against North Korea”, Haley said, praising the “new relationship between President Trump and President Xi” as a catalyst to the new UNSC unanimity.
Italy welcomed the unanimous adoption of the “balanced” resolution. “We thank the United States for leading this process with the appropriate sense of urgency and for conducting these negotiations in the spirit of full transparency and inclusion”, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said addressing the Council. As Chair of the 1718 Committee, the Italian Ambassador had briefed the Council today: “We will continue to maintain a sharp focus on full and effective implementation of the sanctions regime by the whole membership of the United Nations”, he said.
The resolution, agreed to late Sunday after final negotiations between the U.S. and China, the North’s ally and main trading partner, eliminates initial U.S. demands to ban all oil imports to the Asian country and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
The resolution takes action against DPRK nationals who work outside of the country and who could be “generating foreign export earnings that the DPRK uses to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.” Building on resolution 1874 (2009), the Council also gives countries the right to inspect ships with the consent of the countries where the ships are registered, “if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo of such vessels contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited.”
Cardi noted that the resolution comes at a moment of unique threat to international peace and security and of very serious challenge to regional stability. All of these actions, taken together, reveal a cycle of unprecedented, deliberate and escalatory provocations by North Korea, directed against the international community and aimed at undermining the foundations of the global non-proliferation regime, as well as the authority of this Council. “We express our deepest concern for the advancement of the North Korean nuclear and missile program, which constitutes an unacceptable threat of global nature”, said the Italian Ambassador.
According to Cardi, the resolution adopted today provides for a strong, comprehensive package of restrictive measures. They are a reflection of the gravity of the current situation, and they constitute a proportional and appropriate response. “This resolution, however, is not only about stronger sanctions. It also sets the path through which, if it so chooses, North Korea can revert to international legality and to a different pattern of relations with the International Community, in order to reach a peaceful political solution to the situation”, Cardi said, calling upon the DPRK leadership to immediately cease all nuclear and missile-related activities, making credible progress on its obligation to denuclearize and opening the way to a peaceful solution through meaningful negotiations.
The resolution is the UN response to the recent nuclear test explosion (the sixth) by North Korea, which has said was a hydrogen bomb, and to Pyongyang’s escalating launches of increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles that it says can reach the United States. But the provisions were a significant climb-down from the toughest-ever sanctions that the Trump administration proposed in the initial draft resolution it circulated last Tuesday, especially on oil. A complete ban on oil sales could have crippled North Korea’s economy.
Still the resolution bans North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates. And it would cap Pyongyang’s imports of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels a year and crude oil at the level of the last 12 months. Mostly important, the resolution bans all textile exports by North Korea and prohibit all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency. It would prohibit all new and existing joint ventures and cooperative arrangements, with some exceptions approved by the U.N. Haley estimated the pain for North Korea in almost 800 million dollars. And the new sanctions include remittances by foreign workers overseas, another big source of income by the North Korean regime. (@OnuItalia)