UN announces fresh North Korean sanctions, individual bankers hit
24 Dec 2017

The United Nations has imposed a fresh batch of restrictions on North Korea in line with the regimes’ escalating nuclear ambitions.

North Korea, also known as the Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), has been forging ahead with its much-criticised programme in recent months, including launching a ballistic missile on 28 November.

On Friday, the 15 member United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed additional sanctions on the DPRK, this time further restricting trade and targeting individual bankers.

The new measures limit the country’s imports of petrol and crude oil to 500,000 barrels a month with effect from the beginning of 2018, which is estimated will reduce North Korea’s petrol imports by up to 90%.

Also targeted are 16 new additional individuals, mainly banking officials, for the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in previous measures. Those listed include officials linked to institutions such as Ilsim International Bank, Korea Daesong Bank and Koryo Credit Development Bank.

The asset freeze was also imposed on the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, which manages the general administrative and logistical needs of North Korea’s military, the UN said.

The Council also banned the export of food products, machinery, electrical and other equipment, and also ordered member to seize and impound any cargo ships they believe are involved in transporting blacklisted items.

Member states shall also deport all North Korean workers and attached monitoring DPRK workers abroad “immediately but no later than 24 months,” with a few exceptions.

A spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres said: “The only way forward for a comprehensive peaceful and political solution requires de-escalation and open communication channels, now.”

“[The Secretary-General] reaffirms his commitment to working with all parties to this end [and] calls upon all Member States to ensure the full implementation of the relevant resolutions and to redouble efforts to make 2018 a pivotal year for the achievement of sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula,” the spokesperson added.

North Korea responded by calling the US-drafted resolution ‘act of war’ the BBC reported on Sunday.

It quoted a government statement saying the US is “completely terrified” at its accomplishment regarding its state nuclear force, and added that it will further consolidate its “self-defensive nuclear deterrence aimed at fundamentally eradicating the US nuclear threat.”

Last month the US imposed sanctions on several firms that it said were aiding trade with North Korea.

The sanctions are estimated to have cost North Korea up to $1.3 billion, according to an analyst.

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