The United States and China agreed on draft resolutions, which, if accepted by the United Nations Security Council, would result in increased sanctions against North Korea. The United Nations has enforced sanctions against North Korea since 2006 because of its multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches. Currently there is a U.N. embargo on arms exports to and imports from North Korea, and Pyongyang (North Korea’s capital) is banned from importing and exporting nuclear and missile technology and is not allowed to import luxury goods.
The United Nations Security Council has adopted four major resolutions since 2006 that impose and strengthen sanctions on North Korea. These resolutions are aimed at preventing North Korea from continuing to develop its nuclear weapons program, and they also call on Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program and refrain from ballistic missile tests.
In response to the claim in January of this year that North Korea tested a nuclear weapon, the United States and China began intense negotiations to once again strengthen sanctions against North Korea. The United States and China have reached an agreement, but to-date the text of the resolution proposed by the two countries has not been supplied to the public. Diplomats believe that the resolutions should come before the United Nations Security Council within the coming days.
Skepticism exists as to whether the proposed new sanctions would actually curb North Korea’s nuclear program, and whether other countries would enforce the sanctions. However, if adopted, the resolutions would be legally binding.
The proposed sanctions would require countries to inspect all North Korean cargo entering or leaving a country. Additionally, 31 ships that have been identified as trafficking in illegal nuclear goods will be banned from docking in any port. The resolutions are expected to call for the blacklisting of certain individuals and entities. The resolutions would also prohibit countries from sending any item to North Korea that could be used by the North Korean army, like trucks that could be repurposed for military use.
Despite the new sanctions, North Korea would still be able to buy oil and sell coal and iron ore, provided that such materials are not being used to fund its nuclear weapons program, something which would be difficult to prove.