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United Nations/North Korea: Additional Sanctions Adopted

(June 7, 2017) On June 2, 2017, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2356 (2017), sponsored by the United States, “to extend the number of individuals and entities targeted by sanctions first imposed under resolution 1718 (2006) — an asset freeze and travel ban for those involved in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear-weapon programme.”  (Press Release, SC/12853, Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Extending Number, Scope of Sanctions against Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (June 2, 2017), U.N. website (has full text of the new resolution appended); Resolution 1718 (2006) Adopted by the Security Council at its 5551st meeting, on 14 October 2006, S/Res/1718(2006) (Oct. 14, 2006), U.N. website (click on “Download the Word Document” in upper right corner of page).)  The countries that voted in favor of the resolution included China, which has a permanent seat on the 15-member Security Council.  (Rachel Gerber, UN Security Council Adds Sanctions Against North Korea, PAPER CHASE (June 4, 2017); Michelle Nichols, U.N. Expands North Korea Blacklist in first U.S., China Sanctions Deal Under Trump, REUTERS (June 3, 2017).)

The new Resolution was adopted in conformity with Chapter VII, articles 39-51, of the United Nations Charter, on “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace, and acts of aggression.”  (United Nations Charter (signed June 26, 1945, in force on Oct. 24, 1945), Ch. VII, U.N. website.)  Specifically, the Security Council took measures under article 41 of the Charter, which states:

The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.  (Id.)

Highlights of the Resolution

In Resolution 2356, the Security Council “[c]ondemns in the strongest terms the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development activities including a series of ballistic missile launches and other activities” carried out by North Korea since September 9, 2016, “in violation and flagrant disregard of the Security Council’s resolutions … .”  (Resolution 2356, item 1.)  The Council also reaffirmed previous decisions calling for North Korea to “abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities”; to discontinue “launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests, or any other provocation; to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme”; and to “abandon any other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner; … .”  (Id. item 2.)

In addition, the Council decided to apply measures specified in paragraph 8(d) (as modified by subsequent resolutions) and 8(e) of Resolution 1718 (2006) to individuals and entities listed in Annex I and II of the new Resolution and also “to any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction.”  (Id. item 3.)  As summarized in a Security Council press release on Resolution 2356, those measures

mandated all Member States immediately to freeze the funds, other assets and economic resources on their respective territories that were either owned or controlled by the persons and entities listed in Annexes I and II, designated by the Council or its “1718 Committee” as being engaged in or providing support for Pyongyang’s nuclear-related programme — and to prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by individuals listed in Annex I. (Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution …, supra.)

These sanctions now cover 14 additional persons under Annex I and four additional entities under Annex II of Resolution 2356.  The individuals include, as first on the list, Cho Il U, who is believed to be in charge of North Korea’s overseas espionage operations and foreign intelligence collection.  (Resolution 2356, Annex I.)  The entities include two trading companies: the Koryo Bank, which reportedly handles the overseas transactions of Office 38, said to be “a shadowy body that manages the private slush funds of the North Korean leadership,” and the Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army.  (Nichols, supra.)