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06 Aug 2017

UN's Permanent-Five imposes fresh sanctions on North Korea

Intending to penalize North Korea for keeping its ballistic missile program alive, the UN Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions banning North Korean exports and limiting foreign investment.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley termed it, 'the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation".

Sanctions have failed to deter North Korea's unruliness in the past. Will they work this time?

In context

Are sanctions effective against North Korea?

Why is this significant?

Haley noted that the UNSC had raised the penalty against North Korea's ballistic missile program "to a whole new level". This holds significance as it is the unanimous position of the international community that North Korea should abandon its provocation.


North Korea successfully tests ICBM, Trump calls it 'reckless'

Last month, North Korea had claimed it successfully tested a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), calling it a "stern warning" for the US.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the entire US was within striking range, thanks to the test.

The restrictive regime had also tested an ICBM recently.

US President Donald Trump called the latest test a "reckless and dangerous action."

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Nuclear weapons and North Korea

North Korea has run an ambitious nuclear program since the 1950s, although it performs poorly under several socio-economic indicators. Having conducted five tests between 2006-2016, the leadership's spontaneous behaviour, along with its threatening tone aimed at those including the US, create an atmosphere of insecurity.

In 2017

Most recent tests

On February 12, 2017, North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile which travelled around 500km into the Sea of Japan.

On March 6, 2017, Japan said North Korea fired four ballistic missiles, of which, three landed in its exclusive economic zone.

On March 22, 2017, North Korea fired a missile from its east coast that exploded seconds after being launched.

Sanctions against NK: Tried, tested and failed

Past experience

Sanctions against NK: Tried, tested and failed

Numerous trade and economic sanctions have been imposed by those including the UN and the US since 2006, but it has clearly not deterred North from missile-testing.

While China usually protects Pyongyang at the UN, it suspended coal imports from NK in Feb'17 and didn't veto the current bout of sanctions.

President Trump had also threatened determined action against NK, after the recent tests.

How would the sanctions economically affect NK?

The value of North Korea's exports, one of its few sources of cash, currently stands at $3 billion. The new sanctions are estimated to take out about $1 billion out of this. North Korea's economy could take a serious hit!

Way forward

What about talks?

South Korean foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha had indicated that she would hold talks if an opportunity "occurs naturally".

Speaking to South Korea's Yonhap news agency recently, Ms. Kang had indicated that she would meet her North Korean counterpart at the ongoing ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Manila.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is also expected to discuss the recent tests at this meeting.

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