We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!
The Facts —
- On Monday, the 15-member United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously passed a new round of sanctions against North Korea introduced by the United States in response to Pyongyang’s (North Korea’s capital) ongoing tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and the regime’s nuclear program.
- According to a Monday press release by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the resolution “strengthens UN sanctions on North Korea in response to the North Korean nuclear test conducted on September 2, 2017.”
- The 2 September test was the latest, and most powerful, of six nuclear tests carried out by North Korea since 2006 — Haley and the US’s counterparts from Japan, France, the United Kingdom, and South Korea formally requested “an emergency UN Security Council meeting” following the test.
- Vox’s Alex Ward, who covers North Korean nuclear activities, wrote that a “6.3-magnitude earthquake registered at North Korea’s Punggye-ri testing site,” according to American geological experts.
- The quake’s magnitude “indicated Pyongyang detonated a hydrogen bomb with a 100-kiloton yield” making the explosive “around seven times stronger than the bomb America dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.”
- Haley said Monday in regard to the new sanctions:
“[The resolution] sends a very clear message to North Korea that the Security Council is united in condemning North Korea’s violations and demanding [that the regime] give up its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs… Resolution 2375 (2017) includes the strongest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea.”
- She added:
“Previous efforts to bring North Korea to the negotiating table have failed. They have repeatedly walked back every commitment they have made. Today, the Security Council has acted in a different way. Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime… We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing. We are now acting to stop it from having the ability to continue doing the wrong thing. We are doing that by hitting North Korea’s ability to fuel and fund its weapons program.”
- According to a US-UN diplomatic Mission “Fact Sheet,” Monday’s sanctions include the following provisions:
- A reduction in “about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea”;
- The freezing of “the current amount of crude oil provided to North Korea” by barring countries from providing “additional crude oil beyond what China provides”;
- A ban on “all North Korean textile exports” — the “largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted”;
- A ban on future “renewals” of overseas North Korean laborers’ contracts — those “nearly 100,000” North Koreans who are currently working “overseas”;
- New “tools to stop high seas smuggling of prohibited products” by the North Korean regime;
- “Asset freezes on the most important North Korean regime organs” — the regime’s “Central Military Commission, Propaganda and Agitation Department,” and other core operative components of the DPRK government.
The Context —
- Monday’s vote followed negotiations over the sanctions resolution’s language by China — North Korea’s largest trading partner — the US, and other Security Council member-states.
North Korea’s Export Partners —
North Korea’s Import Partners —
- Last week, CNN reported that Amb. Haley said North Korea’s missile tests and rhetoric in recent months indicated that the regime was “begging for war,” and that “despite the best of intentions” the Security Council’s “incremental approach” had “not worked.”
- On 8 September, Haley also released a statement saying that the US planned “to call a meeting to vote on a draft resolution to establish additional sanctions on North Korea on Monday, September 11.”
- The month before, on 5 August, the UN Security Council similarly voted 15-0 in approval of the most stringent economic sanctions against North Korea up to that point.
- The earlier sanctions also came in response to “continued nuclear… development” and ongoing “ballistic missile activity” by the North Korean regime over recent months.
- According to Edith Lederer, who covers the UN for the Associated Press, the resolution’s “text was agreed to after final negotiations between the US and China, the North’s ally and major trading partner.”
- Lederer also wrote that:
“[Monday’s approved] provisions are a significant climb-down from the toughest-ever sanctions that the Trump administration proposed in the initial draft resolution it circulated last Tuesday, especially on oil, where a complete ban could have crippled North Korea’s economy. The cap on the import of petroleum products could have an impact but North Korea will still be able to import the same amount of crude oil that is has this year.”
- NK News, a South Korean news outlet that reports on the North Korean military and state-controlled media, wrote that the North Korean foreign ministry said Monday:
“In case the US eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the US pays due price… The DPRK is ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means. The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history.”
- Kim Sengupta, a defense correspondent at the Independent, said Tuesday that this week’s North Korea sanctions were considerably weaker than American officials had originally intended:
“In order to avoid vetoes by Russia and China at the Security Council, the US had to dilute a whole series of proposed punitive measures… It is ironic that it was Nikki Haley who had to acquiesce to these concessions. She had been matching Trump on aggressive rhetoric ever since being appointed America’s UN envoy… But the hyperbole previously used by Haley has meant that what came [Monday] is viewed as a setback for Washington.”
- According to a Tuesday report by Reuters, Han Tae Song, Pyongyang’s ambassador to the UN, told a UN-sponsored disarmament conference in Geneva that North Korea’s “delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful UN Security Council resolution.”
- Images released by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency in recent months have shown Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, smiling and laughing after observing the launches of intermediate-range missiles.
Christopher Putney contributed to this report.