North Korea faces a new round of U.N. sanctions that will reduce its export revenues by an estimated 25 percent, in response to its illegal nuclear test in September.
“Measures the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously agreed upon include the slashing North Korea’s biggest export, coal, by 60%, banning exports of copper, nickel, silver and zinc, and vetoing the sale of giant statues,” Sky News reports.
North Korea’s top patron China will cooperate in imposing the sanctions by shaving $700 million off its purchases of North Korean coal. Sky News notes that China is “believed to be the only country that buys North Korean coal.”
The giant statue industry, on the other hand, has customers as far away as Senegal, which imported a statue of the African Renaissance from North Korea.
Additionally, the U.N. Security Council blacklisted 11 individuals and 10 North Korean entities, issuing travel bans and asset freezes as punishment for their role in Pyongyang’s missile program.
The Wall Street Journal expects that North Korea’s nuclear program will be “likely undeterred” by this $800 million in fresh sanctions.
“Progress on this front depends much on how rigorously China enforces the coal cap, and whether Beijing, Washington and other governments follow up with more diplomatic efforts,” the Journal writes, noting that China believes Pyongyang’s pursuit of more powerful nuclear weapons has led to a “dire” situation, but the new sanctions will not be enough to destabilize the Kim regime. China has fudged past sanctions due to concerns that they would impact the lives of ordinary North Koreans too much.
Professor George Lopez of the University of Notre Dame, a former member of the U.N. panel that monitors North Korean sanctions, told the WSJ these new sanctions are “tougher than North Korea expected” and could leave Pyongyang without the funds for aggressive nuclear weapons development.
“If they were thinking of greeting Mr. Trump with a new test around inauguration, this ups the ante on that. I don’t think they expected this kind of draconian incursion into their real money and this kind of strict monitoring,” Lopez said.
North Korea’s foreign ministry responded to the sanctions by calling them “another excess of authority and violation of the DPRK’s sovereignty.”
“Obama and his lackeys are sadly mistaken if they calculate that they can force the DPRK to abandon its line of nuclear weaponization and undermine its status as a nuclear power through base sanctions to pressurize it,” sneered the Foreign Ministry, as quoted by al-Jazeera.
The North Koreans darkly warned of “tougher countermeasures for self-defense” as a result of the new sanctions.