NEW YORK, DECEMBER 22 – In response to the November 29, 2017 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch by North Korea, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea that significantly choke off new fuel supplies and order North Koreans working overseas to return home within two years. UNSCR 2397 builds on UNSCR 2375 (2017), which included the strongest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea, and prior resolutions.
The resolution, introduced by the United States and adopted with a vote of 15-0 marks the return to the unity of the Council after the bitter split on the United States decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of the State of Israel. China and Russia joined the other UNSC members in reducing UNSCR 2375 annual cap on refined petroleum exports by 75% to allow a maximum of 500,000 barrels/year to North Korea, while strengthening the previous freeze on crude oil by establishing a 4 million barrels/year or 525,000 tons/year annual limit. The Security Council commits itself to reduce further petroleum exports to North Korea following another nuclear test or an ICBM launch, sending a strong new political signal to North Korea about future Security Council responses. The new measure provides additional tools to crack down on smuggling and sanctions evasion, including a new requirement for countries to seize and impound ships caught smuggling illicit items including oil and coal.
Countries are now required to expel all North Korean laborers earning income abroad immediately but no later than the end of 2019: the North Korean regime is believed to be earning over $500 million each year from heavily taxing the nearly 100,000 overseas North Korean workers, with as many as 80,000 working in China (about 50,000) and Russia (about 30,000) alone.
Italy welcomed the unanimous adoption of this resolution. “We share the continued sense of urgency regarding the need to address the DPRK’s dangerous and illegal activities with further economic and diplomatic pressure, and we thank the delegation of the United States for its work in this regard”, he Deputy Permanent Representative, Inigo Lambertini, said after the vote.
The measures adopted today provide a comprehensive response, commensurate to the threat we face, Lambertini said. “By applying further restrictions on DPRK exports and foreign workers, we are limiting the instruments at the regime’s disposal for earning foreign currency and thus financing its illegal weapons and missile programs”. Italy convincingly voted in favor of the text because North Korea’s continued defiant and reckless actions probably constitute the gravest threat currently facing the International Community. “Such provocative acts deserve a strong and united response in defending our collective security and the integrity of the non- proliferation regime, as well as the authority of this Council”. As outgoing chair of the Sanctions Committee, once again Italy called upon all Member States to implement all relevant DPRK sanctions resolutions. (@OnuItalia)