Posted December. 23, 2017 07:36,
Updated December. 23, 2017 08:25
The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Friday on a resolution that seeks to impose new sanctions on North Korea which will ban nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to the rogue regime. The proposed sanctions are in response to Pyongyang’s Hwasong-15 ICBM test on Nov. 29. If adopted, the draft would significantly cut the amount of petroleum products and crude oil imported to the North while putting stricter limits on oil supplies shipped to Pyongyang through pipelines as well as vessels.
The draft resolution would not go as far as to prohibit or restrict all oil imports, but would cap North Korea’s crude oil imports at 4 million barrels a year. Yet, it is still meaningful that a bridgehead has been created with the latest draft for additional sanctions that the international community may need in the future. The U.N. Security Council and the international community are sending a clear message to Pyongyang that they can go to the extent of cutting the “lifeline” of the regime’s economy despite China’s opposition.
The existing sanctions are also to be strengthened to further choke North Korea’s sources of funding. In addition to prohibiting countries from sending any more North Korean laborers to work abroad, the resolution would force all North Koreans working overseas to return home within 12 months. It would also expand the list of items banned from being exported from North Korea to include food products and machinery. Pyongyang’s shipping would be also cracked down, and U.N. member states would be authorized to seize, inspect and impound any vessels suspected of being involved in illegal activities.
The draft is obviously tougher than the last UNSC resolution 2375, which was adopted in September following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, but still falls short of effectively punishing Pyongyang and preventing it from carrying out additional provocations because the toughest-ever sanctions had to be removed during the process of diplomatic talks and negotiation with China and Russia. What would be the 10th resolution to impose sanctions on Pyongyang, if adopted, would still convey a message that North Korea’s provocative behaviors will not be tolerated and in the end, China and Russia will no longer be able to protect Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, North Korea boasted its achievement calling itself a nuclear state in the conference of cell chairpersons of the ruling Workers’ Party on Thursday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly declared that his country has “rapidly emerged as a strategic state capable of posing a substantial nuclear threat to the United States.” However, it is doubtful that the ragged, starved residents of North Korea would be genuinely feeling proud of the current regime just because their leader proclaims they have a nuclear weapon. Stronger sanctions imposed by the international community will make the residents’ lives get more disastrous. Then it will be only a matter of time before accumulated frustration and dissatisfaction of these people stab their once admired leader in the back.