International sanctions against North Korea are working
North Korea’s ability to progress its nuclear weapons programme is being successfully stymied by international sanctions, according to a recent United Nations (UN) report.
The report, complied by the UN sanctions-monitoring group, said that funding for North Korea’s nuclear programme had been “choked off” by a combination of financial sanctions, an arms embargo and other measures.
“While the imposition of sanctions has not halted the development of nuclear and ballistic missile programs, it has in all likelihood considerably delayed [North Korea’s] timetable and, through the imposition of financial sanctions and the bans on the trade in weapons, has choked off significant funding which would have been channelled into its prohibited activities,” the report stated.
The report covers sanctions imposed during the period up to last month, so has not assessed the effects of the most recent sanctions imposed by the Security Council.
The monitoring group commended the UN’s targeting of banking operations in North Korea saying: “The panel is highly confident that financial measures of the resolutions in general are being effectively implemented by major banks.”
Concerns were raised, however, about banks in countries with less effective regulators and trade-based money-laundering raising cash for “illicit procurements” and enabling the transfer of proceeds from sales of weapons and items related to weapons of mass destruction.
The report identified a number of incidences of North Korea sidestepping the UN ban on luxury goods such as cars, tobacco, alcohol and cosmetics. Luxury items are distributed by the regime to retain the loyalty of political and military elites.
The report also warned that items associated with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes continued to be imported into the country and that similar technology was still being exported to countries such as Iran and Syria.
The report makes a number of recommendations for the UN Security Council to consider. These include the blacklisting of three newly-created North Korean bodies and the imposition of additional measures on twelve individuals, a number of whom are senior officials in the ruling Korean Workers’ Party’s munitions industry department.
This report comes after a period of increased tension on the Korean peninsula resulting from increasingly provocative actions and dialogue by Pyongyang, including a third nuclear weapons test and the launch of a satellite into orbit, a launch many believe was a test of its ballistic missile technology. Tensions reached a peak last month but have diminished somewhat in recent weeks.