North Korea has called the most recent U.N. Security Council sanctions “an act of war” and warns that the US and other nations which supported the strict measures will pay a heavy price. The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted US-drafted sanctions against North Korea in response to their last intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test which experts have said are the most advanced yet. The new sanctions will strangle North Korea’s energy supplies and tighten restrictions on smuggling. Then, just days after the new sanctions were imposed; the United States imposed two additional sanctions on two North Korean officials. The new U.S. Treasury sanctions will freeze all U.S. assets of two North Korean officials accused of being behind the missile program.
North Korea’s foreign ministry lashed out against the latest sanctions, saying the US is intimidated by the nation’s nuclear power. “The United States, completely terrified at our accomplishment, is getting more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country,” the statement said. North Korea warned that if the United States “wishes to live safely, it must abandon its hostile policy” toward North Korea. “We define this ‘sanctions resolution’ rigged up by the US and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” the statement said.
Korea foreign ministry described the new resolution as a “complete economic blockade” and threatened nations that helped pass it. “Those countries that raised their hands in favor of this ‘sanctions resolution’ shall be held completely responsible for all the consequences to be caused by the ‘resolution’ and we will make sure for ever and ever that they pay heavy price for what they have done,” the statement said.
The sanctions cut exports of gasoline, diesel and other refined oil products by a total of 89%. It also bans the export of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and industrial metals to North Korea, and requires countries currently hosting North Korean migrant workers to repatriate them within 24 months. According to the UN, around 100,000 North Koreans work overseas and most of their wages are sent back home, bringing an estimated $500 million each year for Kim Jong Un’s regime. The new UN resolution also prohibits countries from smuggling North Korean coal and other prohibited commodities by sea and authorizes member states to inspect, seize and impound any vessels in their territorial waters found to be transporting prohibited items. This month, Washington asked the UN to ban 10 ships from entering ports across the world over alleged dealings with North Korea.
Three months ago, the UN passed a US-drafted resolution that at the time was described by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley as “by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea.” The previous measures, adopted in September, had been designed to accomplish six major goals: cap North Korea’s oil imports, ban textile exports, end additional overseas laborer contracts, suppress smuggling efforts, stop joint ventures with other nations and sanction designated North Korean government entities.