North Korea: UN Presses New Sanctions

The United Nations’ Security Council has made a unanimous decision on March 2nd to impose sanctions upon North Korea. Known to be the toughest sanctions pressed on the state in nearly 20 years, this action reflects their dissatisfaction towards Pyongyang’s defiance of their nuclear ban.

The North Korean capital tested a Hydrogen bomb on January 6th of this year, and launched a satellite on February 7th. According to an article published by the Globe and Mail, China spent almost seven weeks negotiating the sanctions with North Korea. The discussions entailed “a mandatory inspection of cargo leaving and entering North Korea by land, sea, or air.” China also placed a ban on any transfer or sale of arms to North Korea. They have even gone so far as to expel diplomats who engage in any related activities. China was reluctant in terms of imposing economic sanctions, like what the United States and Japan have done. As Pyongyang’s neighbour, China feared an economic collapse.

Furthermore, the resolution also places a ban on the export of raw materials, whose revenue would potentially fund North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, states holding ties with North Korea have been requested to freeze any asset linked to the nuclear program.

American president Barack Obama has voiced himself on behalf of the global community, stating the following: “The international community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people.”

North Korea’s diplomatic relations with many states is weary, as the state possesses troves of uranium deposits and nuclear-related weapons. The Security Council has always viewed North Korea as a threat. The council has unanimously passed sanctions against this state in the past, but they were broken immediately as North Korea refused to abide by them. Nuclear activities going on within the state have evidently been perceived as a humanitarian threat. The United Nations have stated that these new sanctions are not intended to promote an adverse effect on the current humanitarian state in North Korea, but rather encourage a safer nuclear program.

Looking east on the world map, Iran has had its sanctions lifted by the Security Council, and has been abiding by the rules that are aiming to limit its nuclear abilities. If the Security Council were to use the same strategy in North Korea, it could fail, unfortunately. Judging by precedence, North Korea is not likely to abide by these new sanctions for a long time. For North Korea to assume such dominant nuclear power is threatening in today’s world, and it’s even more threatening to consider the fact the current sanctions might not last.

Neelam Champaneri