New UN resolution bans North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood

North Korea Vows Revenge For New UN Security Council Sanctions Resolution

By —— Bio and Archives--August 8, 2017

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North Korea is stepping up its threats against the United States in the wake of the United Nations Security Council’s unanimous passage last Saturday of a toughly worded U.S.-drafted sanctions resolution. In response to North Korea’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, the new UN resolution bans North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The effect would be to potentially cut North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. Member states are also prohibited from admitting more North Korean workers into their countries. These workers send remittances back to North Korea, replenishing the regime’s hard currency reserves.

“North Korea’s irresponsible and careless acts have just proved to be quite costly to the regime,” said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley following the adoption of the resolution. “This resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever leveled against the North Korean regime. The price the North Korean leadership will pay for its continued nuclear and missile development will be the loss of one-third of its exports and hard currency. This is the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.”

At the same time, however, Ambassador Haley noted that much more needs to be done to make any real difference in North Korea’s calculations. “We must work together to fully implement the sanctions we imposed today and those imposed in past resolutions,” she said. “The step we take together today is an important one. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close.”

Whether the sanctions and other restrictions in the new resolution will be rigorously implemented remains to be seen. If what’s past is prologue, the outlook is grim.

One item conspicuously missing from the list of sanctioned items is the import of oil into North Korea, which is vital to fueling North Korea’s war machine. Most of the oil North Korea has received comes from China. If China were to decide to decrease its oil shipments to North Korea, Russia is poised to step into the breach. So is Iran.

Also, North Korean workers already in another country will be allowed to remain there, presumably continuing to send remittances back home that the regime can use to finance its weapons program. According to the New York Times, North Korea “has sent tens of thousands of its impoverished citizens to cities and towns across the former Soviet Union to earn money for the state.” Even the UN Secretariat, which should be setting an example of full compliance with the letter and spirit of the resolution, may be willing to skirt around its edges. It had previously offered North Korea the opportunity for one of its citizens to seek a place in its Young Professionals Program, where the North Korean could be working in the United Nations Secretariat at UN headquarters in New York. The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General was not able to say whether the Secretariat would remain willing to admit a North Korean into the Young Professionals Program in light of the new resolution. “I’m not sure we can create a link between the two,” he said in response to my question whether placing a worker from North Korea into the program would be consistent with at least the spirit of the Security Council resolution.

While China and Russia called for resumption of negotiations in their own respective remarks to the Security Council, the Trump administration laid down its pre-condition for any resumption of talks with North Korea in which the United States would agree to participate. North Korea has to take concrete, confidence-building steps first. Stop testing missiles for an “extended period,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “We’ll know it when we see it. This is not a ‘give me 30 days and we are ready to talk.’ It’s not quite that simple. So it is all about how we see their attitude towards approaching a dialogue with us.”

The North Korean regime countered that its nuclear weapons program was not subject to negotiations. It ridiculed the Security Council for succumbing to a “gangster-like logic indicating that the rest of the world should either become U.S. colonies serving its interests or fall victim to its aggression.” North Korea defiantly vowed “thousands-fold” revenge” for what North Korea characterized as a “heinous U.S. plot to isolate and stifle” it via the new UN sanctions. In a show of force, the regime is reported to have loaded anti-ship cruise missiles onto a patrol boat in the eastern part of the country.

The unanimous passage of the latest Security Council resolution, including with support from North Korea’s allies Russia and China, has indeed served to further isolate the North Korean regime. North Korea can no longer rely on any of the permanent members of the Security Council for consistent political cover. Ambassador Haley made a point in particular “to personally thank the Chinese delegation for the important contributions they made to this resolution.” Again, the proof of the pudding will be in the resolution’s complete, ironclad implementation, particularly by Russia and China.

The elephant in the room, whenever the UN Security Council deliberates about North Korea and passes its sanctions resolutions, is Iran. Even if China and Russia were to fully implement all sanctions and other restrictions the Security Council has imposed on North Korea, Iran’s reported collaboration with North Korea on the development of ballistic missile and related nuclear weapons technologies may undermine the effectiveness of any sanctions against North Korea. If Iran purchases such technologies from North Korea with hard currency from the massive amount of monies unfrozen or transferred to Iran as a result of Barack Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA, North Korea will see its hard currency reserves rise as a result. It is also possible that Iran has been using North Korean facilities to outsource the development of nuclear warheads and triggering devices.

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Any evidence of Iran’s illicit collaboration with North Korea should be used as grounds to exit the JCPOA, before we end up at the same place with Iran as we now find ourselves with North Korea

“The longtime relationship has been one in which oil-rich Iran provides the lucre, while cash-famished North Korea serves as an illicit weapons laboratory and backshop for Tehran and its clients, including terrorist outfits such as Hezbollah,” wrote foreign affairs expert Claudia Rosett.

The chairman of the Supreme Assembly of North Korea is presently visiting Iran. He is reported to be traveling with North Korean economic and military officials. North Korea also has just opened a new embassy in Tehran, which North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said was “built to boost exchanges, contacts and cooperation between the two countries for world peace and security and international justice.” Those are code words for military collaboration against their common enemy, the United States.

There is one possible silver lining in all of this. If Iran has been working with North Korea to engage in certain activities prohibited by the JCPOA, the Trump administration would have solid grounds to declare Iran to be in violation of the JCPOA. Such prohibited activities may include Iran’s involvement in R&D “that could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” or Iran’s purchase of certain nuclear equipment, material and technologies from North Korea outside of the “procurement channel” established by the JCPOA for approval of such purchases.

Negotiations with North Korea going back to the Clinton administration have led us to the point where North Korea is now on the verge of being able to carry out its threats to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland. Wendy Sherman was the Clinton administration’s policy coordinator for North Korea and a principal negotiator of the failed 1994 Agreed Framework under which North Korea initially agreed to freeze and dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Despite its complete unraveling, she has continued to defend that deal, which no doubt prepared her to lead the negotiations on behalf of the United States with Iran that culminated in the deeply flawed JCPOA. We are being played by Iran, just as we were played by North Korea. It is time to end the repeat performance brought to us once again by Wendy Sherman, this time working for the Obama administration. Any evidence of Iran’s illicit collaboration with North Korea should be used as grounds to exit the JCPOA, before we end up at the same place with Iran as we now find ourselves with North Korea.

Joseph A. Klein, CFP United Nations Columnist -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.

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