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UNSC imposes tighter sanctions on North Korea over arms threat

03 March 2016

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution to impose new sanctions and tighten some of the existing measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in the backdrop of the country's ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities that ''threaten international peace and security.''

''Today's unanimous action by the Security Council has sent a clear message that the DPRK must return to full compliance with its international obligations,'' said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement issued by his spokesperson.

The UN chief also urged the East Asian country to abide by the resolution and called upon all UN member states to ensure its implementation.

UN Security Council Resolution 2270, passed on 2 March 2016, substantially shifts the multilateral sanctions regime on North Korea. It not only bolsters existing provisions, but also moves beyond sanctions that rest on determinations that a proscribed activity has taken place, such as arms-related proliferation.

The new resolution requires states to inspect all cargo to and from the DPRK, not just those suspected of containing prohibited items, as was previously the case. It also bans leasing or chartering of vessels or airplanes and providing crew services to the country, and registering vessels, while calling on states to de-register any DPRK owned or controlled vessels.

Additionally, it decides that states will be required to ban any flights and deny entry into their ports of any vessel suspected of carrying prohibited items.

The resolution seeks to ensure that Pyongyang's latest provocations are met by efforts to shrink the number of overseas locations from which North Koreans can facilitate illicit activity, and increase the cost of doing business in those countries.

The financial sanctions broaden their scope by imposing an asset freeze on all funds and other economic resources owned or controlled by the DPRK government or by the Worker's Party of Korea, if found to be associated with its nuclear or ballistic missile programme or any other prohibited activities.

An additional 13 individuals are designated in the resolution as subject to the travel ban and asset freeze, including several representatives of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and the Tanchon Commercial Bank.

It designates 12 new entities as subject to the asset freeze, including the ministry of atomic energy and the Reconnaissance Energy Bureau, described as the DPRK's premiere intelligence organisation.

''This firm response by the Security Council should put an end to the cycle of provocation and lead to the resumption of dialogue in accordance with the unified view of the international community,'' he added.

The Secretary-General also reiterated the critical role of international assistance in safeguarding the lives of millions in the country, while renewing his call on the DPRK to do more for the lives of its people. ''Genuine improvement in human rights is a necessary basis for long-term security and stability,'' he stressed.

In the resolution, which was sponsored by the United States, the 15-member body condemned ''in the strongest terms'' the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 6 January, noting that it was ''in violation and flagrant disregard'' of the Council's prior resolutions. It further condemned the country's launch of 7 February, which used ballistic missile technology and was a ''serious violation.''

The new measure expands sanctions against the DPRK by imposing a ban on all exports including coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth metals, and banning the supply of all types of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel.

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