The Security Council today further strengthened its sanctions regime against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, condemning in the strongest terms that country's ballistic missile launches and reaffirming its decision that Pyongyang shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2371 (2017) under Article 41, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-nation Council decided that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea shall not supply, sell or transfer coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore to other countries.
Expressing concern that Democratic People's Republic of Korea nationals working abroad were generating foreign export earnings to support the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, it also decided that all Member States shall not increase the total number of work authorizations for such persons in their jurisdictions, unless approved by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).
Through the text, the Council decided that States shall prohibit the opening of new joint ventures or cooperative entities with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea entities and individuals, or expand existing joint ventures through additional investments. In addition, it decided that Pyongyang shall not deploy or use chemical weapons and urgently called for it to accede to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction.
Also through the resolution, the Council named nine individuals and four entities to be subject to a travel ban and asset freeze already in place, as well as to request that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) issue special notices with respect to designated individuals.
In addition, it reaffirmed that its provisions were not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and that the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), on a case-by-case basis, exempt from sanctions those activities that would facilitate the work of international and non-governmental organizations engaged in assistance and relief activities for civilian benefit.
Furthermore, through the text, the Council called for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks between China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the United States towards the goal of a verifiable and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking after the resolution's adoption, the representative of the United States said the Council had put the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's dictator on notice by increasing the penalty of its ballistic missile activity to a whole new level. All Member States must do more to put more pressure on that country, she said, adding that the United States would take defensive measures to protect itself and its allies, including through joint military exercises.
China's representative said that, while today's resolution had imposed further sanctions, it did not intend to negatively impact such non-military goods as food and humanitarian aid. Calling on all parties to implement the resolution's provisions fully and earnestly, he recalled that China and the Russian Federation on 4 July had put forward a road map to resolve the issue through two parallel tracks — denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism. Recalling that the United States had recently indicated that it was not pushing for regime change or for the Korean Peninsula's reunification, he said an escalation of military activities would be detrimental to all countries of the region.
Japan's delegate said the sheer number and frequency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests "show how unprecedented and unacceptable these provocations are." Not only was the quantity outrageous, but the qualitative advancements were alarming. Noting that today's resolution would reduce the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's revenue by approximately $1 billion, he said all Member States must demonstrate renewed commitment to implement the Council's decisions.
The Russian Federation's representative, while calling on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to end its banned programmes, said progress would be difficult so long as it perceived a direct threat to its security. Emphasizing that military misadventures risked creating a disaster, he said sanctions must be a tool for engaging Pyongyang in constructive talks rather than to seek the country's economic asphyxiation.
The Republic of Korea's delegate said that Pyongyang's missile provocations on 4 and 28 July, together with its nuclear programme, posed a grave threat to international peace and security. Indeed, such reckless acts of defiance should be met with stronger measures, he said, adding that additional sanctions contained in resolution 2371 (2017) would significantly cut off the inflow of hard currency that would otherwise have been diverted to illicit weapons programmes.
Also speaking were representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Ukraine, Uruguay, Senegal, Sweden, Italy, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and Egypt.
The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 4:12 p.m.