On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution adding more sanctions to the North Korean regime as a way to choke off the regime from its sources of hard currency. The resolution was adopted 82 days after North Korea fifth nuclear test on September 9. 2321,
The sanctions will close a major loop hole present in previous attempts to siphon off cash flow from the regime. Coal exports – the single biggest export item and source of hard currency – are capped at 7.5 million tons even if the export is for livleyhood reasons. This cap represents a cut of North Korean ability to make money exporting coal by 60% or around $700 million, a quarter of its exports. The resolution also forces countries to reduce the number of North Korean officials at North Korean missions. North Korea could also see its membership to the United Nations suspended if it continues its push for nuclear weapons.
South Korea welcomed the passing of the resolution, calling it a milestone, similar to resolution 2270 which was adopted earlier this year. The Foreign Ministry released a statement detailing its praise for the resolution. “The government strongly welcomes that the resolution was unianimously adopted, with the backing of China and Russia, in response to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test,” the statement read. South Korea is set to work with United Nations memeber nations to enforce the strong round of sanctions.
The looming question, as it has been with other adopted sanctions, is the role of China in enforcing the new round. China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner, and supplier of aid, and is normally adverse to strong sanctions on the reclusive nation; China fears collapse of North Korea may lead to an economic nightmare as refugees pour across the Tumen River seeking better opportunities, and that a unified Korea places a strong democracy right at its border. However, China may also save face, as it has done in many situations, and enforce this round of sanctions as a way to show its opposition to the North Korean nuclear program.