US-North Korea Current Affairs

US calls for new U.N. sanctions against N.Korea 

The United States has decided to present a draft resolution in the U.N. Security Council aimed at imposing new sanctions on North Korea as it has successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Salient Highlights

An emergency meeting of the UNSC was called by the United States, Japan and South Korea to agree on a response to the North Korea’s ICBM test. In the emergency meeting, the US has said that the launch of an ICBM by the North Korea is a clear and sharp escalation. Under the new sanctions, the US has decided to use trade restrictions targeting those countries that continue to have dealings with North Korea. France has expressed its support for a new resolution.

In last year, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had adopted two sanctions resolutions to curtail hard currency needed to fund North Korea’s military programs. Those resolutions paved the way for imposing bans on North Korea’s coal exports, which is its major source of revenue. In addition, the sanctions also placed restrictions on banking and provided for mandatory searches of all cargo to and from North Korea.

In total, so far six sets of sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it has first tested an atomic device in 2006.

Background

Recently, North Korea had successfully test-fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-14 into waters near Sea of Japan. The claim was confirmed by the United States. The launch appeared to be North Korea’s most successful missile test since its ballistic missile programme gathered pace in the late 1990s. Based on missile’s height and trajectory path, US scientists claim that missile could potentially be powerful enough to reach Alaska.  The missile had reached an altitude higher and flew longer than any of the North Korea’s previous similar tests. The missile had landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone. US has strongly condemned the launch and added that it will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. The ICBM testing represents a new escalation of the threat to US and its allies and partners.

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UNSC Expands Sanctions against North Korea

The UN security council has unanimously passed a resolution expanding targeted sanctions against North Korea after the latter launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year. This is the first such resolution which is agreed upon by the United States and China since the US President Donald Trump took office.

Salient Highlights

The new resolution has slapped even more sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It has condemned the North Korea’s continued proliferation of its nuclear and ballistic program.

The new sanctions have extended a travel ban and asset freeze on senior officials, core military apparatus as well as the state entities that are directly responsible for North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The list of expanded sanctions also included state officials and banks. This is aimed at further restricting North Korea’s ability to finance its illicit activities. Sanctions have been applied on entities like Koryo Bank, Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army, and 14 other people, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations.

Background

The UN Security Council had first imposed sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs in the year 2006. The UN’s sanctions against North Korea are in response to five nuclear tests and two long-range missile launches. North Korea has also launched several more ballistic missiles since then. The US has struggled a lot to slow down these programs as the North Korea has vowed to develop a nuclear -tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

The countries like France and Italy has supported the new resolution. Veto powered Russia too have backed the measures taken by UN. It is to be mentioned that the United States has unilaterally imposed its own sanctions on some of the Russian firms for supporting North Korea’s weapons programs.

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