Consensus among the international community in the wake of North Korea’s missile test

23.02.2017 - Article

In conducting a missile test on 12 February 2017, North Korea once again violated several United Nations Security Council resolutions. The German Government condemned the test in the strongest possible terms.

Strict sanctions regime

Since 2006, the UN Security Council has been calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile programme. UN Security Council resolutions of 2006, 2009 and 2016 prohibit North Korea from launching ballistic missiles and conducting nuclear tests. On behalf of the German Government, Foreign Minister Gabriel condemned North Korea’s latest missile test in the strongest possible terms:

German Government condemns North Korean missile test (press release of 12 February 2017)

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2321 on 30 November 2016
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2321 on 30 November 2016© dpa/picture-alliance

Resolution 2321 (2016), which was adopted by the UN Security Council on 30 November 2016, tightened the sanctions regime further. The new restrictions focus on export bans for copper, nickel, silver and zinc. Exports of coal and iron are only permitted for the “livelihood purposes” of the population of North Korea. At the same time, coal exports have been restricted in order to significantly reduce the regime’s sources of income. The resolution also includes further travel bans and asset freezes. The aim of this strict sanctions regime is to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programme and return to the negotiating table.

Emergency session of the UN Security Council

On 13 February, the UN Security Council convened for an emergency session. The press statement released afterwards condemned the North Korean Government’s conduct as “a grave violation” of Security Council resolutions. A joint statement by the Security Council said that the test violated several of its resolutions and that “further significant measures” would be taken against these violations.

The international community’s aim is to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. The most important forum for these efforts were the six-party talks that started in 2003 between North and South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan. However, the talks were discontinued in 2009. The German Government nevertheless continues to regard the six-party talks as a suitable format for achieving a solution by diplomatic means. At the same time, it is working with all of its partners on options for creative new solutions.

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