UN tightens sanctions on North Korea


AP and Reuters

UNITED NATIONS/SEOUL — In response to North Korea’s third nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to tighten financial restrictions on Pyongyang and crack down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo in breach of U.N. sanctions. The U.S.-drafted resolution, which was approved unanimously by the 15-nation council, was the product of three weeks of negotiations between the United States and China after North Korea’s third nuclear test on Feb. 12. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, welcomed the council’s move, saying in a statement that the resolution “sent an unequivocal message to (North Korea) that the international community will not tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

The Obama administration on Thursday said it had reassured South Korea and Japan “at the highest levels” of its commitment to deterrence, through the U.S. nuclear umbrella and missile defense, in the face of fresh threats from North Korea. Glyn Davies, the State Department’s point man for North Korea policy, also said in testimony prepared for a Senate hearing that Washington will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state and will not reward it for returning to nuclear talks.

The final version of the draft resolution, released Wednesday, identified three individuals, one corporation and one organization that would be added to the U.N. sanctions list if the measure is approved. The targets include top officials at a company that is the country’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment, and a national organization responsible for research and development of missiles and probably nuclear weapons. The draft resolution condemns the latest nuclear test “in the strongest terms” for violating and flagrantly disregarding council resolutions, bans further ballistic missile launches, nuclear tests “or any other provocation,” and demands that North Korea return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It also condemns all of North Korea’s ongoing nuclear activities, including its uranium enrichment. But the proposed resolution stresses the council’s commitment “to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution” and urged a resumption of six-party talks with the aim of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula “in a peaceful manner.”