United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2087, adopted Wednesday following North Korea’s latest long-range rocket launch, was made possible with the backing of China, the North’s only ally.
The new resolution seeks to beef up the implementation of existing sanctions rather than introduce drastic new measures, watchers said.
One Seoul official described the resolution as a “catch-all,” highlighting what has already been called on from the international community.
Approved after intense negotiations between Washington and Beijing, the resolution calls for the freezing of assets of six additional North Korean entities linked with its nuclear weapons program, including the Korean Committee for Space Technology, the body responsible for the successful launching of the Unha-3 rocket.
The assets of the Bank of East Land, which facilitates weapons-related transactions, are also to be frozen; and travel bans were placed on four additional North Korean officials.
The council called on member states to exercise “enhanced vigilance” in preventing the transfer of funds related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs as stipulated in UNSC Resolution 1974, adopted in 2009.
It also directs the U.N. Sanctions Committee to issue notices when operators of vessels refuse to allow the inspection of cargo being imported into North Korea and clarifies how nations can dispose of embargoed items after they are confiscated.
While experts said the inclusion of the officials would likely infuriate the North, which is hailing those involved with the successful launch as heroes, they added that the resolution did not add much else new.
Officials here said follow-up measures to the resolution may be discussed when the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, Glyn Davies, holds bilateral talks in Seoul, today.
Possible options would include strengthening inspections of North Korean ships suspected of engaging in weapons trafficking as well as additional bilateral sanctions against North Korea.
Seoul has been working with international powers to identify Pyongyang’s financial accounts to freeze as a possible measure if the North follows through with a third nuclear test later this month. Targeting the remaining international bank accounts used by the North would be similar to efforts that froze its accounts in a bank in Macao, the Banco Delta Asia. Proponents of a tough line on Pyongyang have called for such a move to put the pinch on the provocative Kim Jong-un regime.
The new resolution adds to an array of sanctions in place on the North over its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.
Analysts noted that it remained to be seen how strictly the resolution would be implemented.
Many believe Beijing, fearing instability on its borders, has looked the other way on Pyongyang’s proliferation activities.