Security Council toughens sanctions against North Korea

The UN Security Council has again unanimously condemned North Korea’s rocket launch of 12 December 2012 and further tightened its targeted sanctions against the country. In Resolution 2087 of 22 January 2013, the Council demands that North Korea end all ballistic tests and nuclear programmes. Further individuals involved in the rocket programme have been added to existing sanctions lists and will now be subject to travel bans and asset freezes. Banks and other institutions have also been included in the lists.

In Berlin, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle welcomed the resolution, calling it a “clear response to North Korea’s actions, which blatantly violate international law”. He went on to say that it showed “that the international community will not tolerate the country’s deliberate provocations”.

The Security Council has also further specified sanctions provisions and added clearer instructions. For example, it calls for enhanced vigilance by member states in order to prevent any financial transactions intended to fund Pyongyang’s nuclear and rocket programmes. The procedure for inspecting goods on vessels is also addressed. Furthermore, the Security Council expressed its determination to “take significant action” in the event of a further missile launch or nuclear test by North Korea.

“Actions, not words”

In the light of the continued violations of international law by North Korea, Minister Westerwelle stressed:

North Korea’s new leadership must now make a choice. If it keeps up its provocations and continues to violate international law and isolate itself, we will not hesitate to respond resolutely, now and in the future. The other option, which we have long been pressing for, is a change of course towards de escalation, dialogue and reintegration into the international community. The door remains wide open. But let me emphasize that what counts are actions, not words.

International concern about nuclear rocket programme

Rocket launch in North Korea

Rocket launch in North Korea
© picture-alliance/dpa

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Rocket launch in North Korea

Rocket launch in North Korea

Rocket launch in North Korea

North Korea is isolated internationally and one of the most closed-off countries in the world. The population is suffering due to the poor economic situation and the lack of basic necessities as well as political repression. The international community is striving to persuade North Korea to halt its nuclear programme. Since 2003, the most important forum for this were the six-party talks in which the two Koreas as well as the US, China, Russia and Japan took part. However, they broke down back in 2009.

Pyongyang conducted nuclear weapon tests and launched rockets in previous years. In April 2012, another rocket launch failed. The launch of a Unha 3 long-range rocket on 12 December 2012 seems to have been successful. The North Korean leadership claimed it had sent a weather satellite into space. However, the international community suspects that an intercontinental missile was tested. UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 from 2006 and 2009 as well as Resolution 2087 (2013), which has just been adopted, prohibit such ballistic missile launches by North Korea.

In reaction to the latest condemnation by the UN Security Council, North Korea is threatening to strengthen its nuclear deterrent and no longer take part in denuclearization negotiations. Minister Westerwelle called on the leadership in Pyongyang to comply with the UN Security Council resolutions in full and to refrain from any irresponsible actions which could further exacerbate the situation on the Korean Peninsula. He went on to say that North Korea would face even greater international isolation should it carry out further nuclear weapon tests.

Last updated 24.01.2013

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