Canada Free Press reports: North Korea is stepping up its threats against the United States in the wake of the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous passage last Saturday of a toughly worded U.S.-drafted sanctions resolution. In response to North Korea’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, the new UN resolution bans North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The effect would be to potentially cut North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. Member states are also prohibited from admitting more North Korean workers into their countries. These workers send remittances back to North Korea, replenishing the regime’s hard currency reserves.
“North Korea’s irresponsible and careless acts have just proved to be quite costly to the regime,” said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley following the adoption of the resolution. “This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime. The price the North Korean leadership will pay for its continued nuclear and missile development will be the loss of one-third of its exports and hard currency. This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.”
At the same time, however, Ambassador Haley noted that much more needs to be done to make any real difference in North Korea’s calculations. “We must work together to fully implement the sanctions we imposed today and those imposed in past resolutions,” she said. “The step we take together today is an important one. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close.”
Whether the sanctions and other restrictions in the new resolution will be rigorously implemented remains to be seen. If what’s past is prologue, the outlook is grim.
One item conspicuously missing from the list of sanctioned items is the import of oil into North Korea, which is vital to fueling North Korea’s war machine. Most of the oil North Korea has received comes from China. If China were to decide to decrease its oil shipments to North Korea, Russia is poised to step into the breach. So is Iran.
Also, North Korean workers already in another country will be allowed to remain there, presumably continuing to send remittances back home that the regime can use to finance its weapons program. According to the New York Times, North Korea “has sent tens of thousands of its impoverished citizens to cities and towns across the former Soviet Union to earn money for the state.” Even the UN Secretariat, which should be setting an example of full compliance with the letter and spirit of the resolution, may be willing to skirt around its edges. It had previously offered North Korea the opportunity for one of its citizens to seek a place in its Young Professionals Program, where the North Korean could be working in the United Nations Secretariat at UN headquarters in New York. The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General was not able to say whether the Secretariat would remain willing to admit a North Korean into the Young Professionals Program in light of the new resolution. “I’m not sure we can create a link between the two,” he said in response to my question whether placing a worker from North Korea into the program would be consistent with at least the spirit of the Security Council resolution.
While China and Russia called for resumption of negotiations in their own respective remarks to the Security Council, the Trump administration laid down its pre-condition for any resumption of talks with North Korea in which the United States would agree to participate. North Korea has to take concrete, confidence-building steps first. Stop testing missiles for an “extended period,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “We’ll know it when we see it. This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude towards approaching a dialogue with us.”Read More