The Koreas

UN Security Council Unanimously Approves New Sanctions Against North Korea

Recent Features

The Koreas

UN Security Council Unanimously Approves New Sanctions Against North Korea

The new sanctions take aim at North Korea’s energy imports, foreign labor revenue, and more.

UN Security Council Unanimously Approves New Sanctions Against North Korea
Credit: Flickr/ Patrick Gruban

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council approved a new resolution sanctioning North Korea for its latest test launch of an intercontinental-range ballistic missile at the end of November.

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2397, submitted by the United States, succeeds three other North Korea-related resolutions from earlier this year, resolutions 2375, 2371, and 2356.

The resolution, which passed with the approval of all 15 members of the Security Council, takes aim at North Korea’s energy supplies, overseas laborers, and cracks down on cross-border smuggling.

On energy, it lowers the cap on permissible exports of gasoline, diesel, and other oil products by nearly 90 percent. North Korean imports of diesel and kerosene are capped at 500,000 barrels a year and imports of crude oil are capped at 4 million barrels a year.

The resolution also requires UN member states to stop any ships that may be delivering oil in violation of existing UN sanctions.

Taking an aim at North Korea’s fast-growing ballistic missile program, the resolution also bans the export of new kinds of industrial equipment and heavy machinery to North Korea.

With an exemption for North Korea’s civil aviation sector, the resolution also bars the export of “iron, steel, and other metals” to North Korea by all UN member states.

The resolution expands on UNSCR 2375 from earlier this year with regard to North Korea’s foreign laborers.

The resolution asks UN member states to repatriate all North Korean nationals “earning income” in their jurisdictions. Additionally, over the next two years, the resolution requires that member states expel all North Korean “government safety oversight attaches monitoring DPRK workers abroad.”

UNSCR 2397 bars UN member states from importing a range of North Korean products beyond those categories banned by earlier resolutions, including food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, and more. North Korea is also barred from exporting these items.

Nikki Haley, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, said that the resolution “cut deeper” than those that preceded it.

“We will continue to match the Kim regime’s choice of aggressive action with actions of international sanctions,” she added. The Trump administration has sponsored a global campaign of “maximum pressure” against North Korea, focused on expanding sanctions and pressing states to implement their obligations under existing international sanctions.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “welcomes the continued unity of the Security Council, which is essential to achieve the goal of denuclearization and create the space for diplomatic initiatives aimed at achieving it in a peaceful manner,” according to a statement by his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Friday’s resolution falls short of measures the Trump administration has long sought against North Korea, including a total ban on oil exports and a broader freeze on the North Korean regime’s international assets.

UNSCR 2397 is a response to North Korea’s November 29 launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental-range ballistic missile, the country’s largest and most powerful missile to date.

The Hwasong-15 is thought to be capable of striking the entirety of the U.S. mainland with a nuclear payload.