Following a series of behind-the-scenes negotiations Sunday, diplomats agreed not to ban oil exports into North Korea. Instead, the ninth set of restrictive sanctions against Pyongyang, unanimously adopted by the 15-member UN Security Council, following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test earlier his month, authorized a cap of 2 million barrels a year of sales of refined petroleum products to North Korea, Reuters reported. The sanctions also place a cap on crude oil exports to the communist regime at current levels.
The UNSC also placed a ban on the country’s textile exports, North Korea’s second-biggest export, totaling $752 million, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.
Chinese and Russian negotiators have also managed to persuade the US delegation not to impose a travel ban or asset freeze on Kim Jong-un.
“We are done trying to prod the regime from doing the right thing,”said US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. “We are now trying to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing.”
Japan’s UN mission called the latest resolution “an urgent call for North Korea to change its behavior.”
The French UN mission described the new set of sanctions as an “antidote [which will] pave the way for a political solution” to the Korean peninsula crisis.
Just ahead of the Security Council meeting, the North Korean foreign ministry warned it will be forced to retaliate using “ultimate means,” should stricter sanctions follow.
“In case the US eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] shall make absolutely sure that the US pays due price,” the ministry’s statement read, according to the state-run KCNA news agency.
“The DPRK is ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means. The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the US the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history,” the statement added.
Russia and China have been calling for a peaceful resolution to the Korean crisis, urging both sides to avert provocations. While condemning North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, Moscow and Beijing are pushing for the so-called double freeze initiative that would see North Korea suspend its missile and nuclear tests in exchange for South Korea and the US dropping their joint military exercises. The US has rejected the proposal, asserting that its own exercises are legal, unlike Pyongyang’s, which are subject to existing international sanctions.
“It is clear that it is impossible to solve the problems of the Korean peninsula by sanctions alone and pressure,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the economic forum in Vladivostok following talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.
“One shouldn’t give in to emotions and drive North Korea into a corner,” Putin stated, adding that everyone now needs to show composure, avoiding “steps that lead to an escalation of tension.”
The following is a chronology of major events leading to the United Nations Security Council’s adoption Monday (U.S. time) of a fresh resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea over its sixth nuclear test, mainly on the country’s overseas oil procurement.
March 12: North Korea announces its intention to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
May 11: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 825, the first UNSC resolution on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, calling on North Korea to reconsider the withdrawal.
July 5: North Korea test-launches the long-range missile Taepodong-2.
July 15: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 1695 condemning North Korea for provocations and recommending that U.N. member countries do not transfer missile-related resources, products or technology to North Korea.
Oct. 9: North Korea conducts its first nuclear test.
Oct. 14: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 1718 condemning the North Korean nuclear test and launching a sanctions committee on North Korea.
April 5: North Korea launches Kwangmyongsong-2, which the country claims to be a communications satellite.
April 13: The UNSC issues a presidential statement in condemnation of the North Korean launch.
May 25: North Korea conducts its second nuclear test.
June 12: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 1874 denouncing the North Korean nuclear test.
April 13: North Korea test-fires the long-range rocket Unha-3 from the Dongchang-ri launch site in North Pyongan Province. But the rocket breaks into pieces and crashes into the sea shortly after takeoff.
April 16: The UNSC strongly denounces the rocket launch in its presidential statement.
Dec. 12: North Korea test-fires another Unha-3 long-range rocket.
Jan. 22: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 2087, adding six entities and four individuals to its North Korea sanctions list.
Feb. 12: North Korea carries out its third nuclear test.
March 7: The UNSC adopts Resolution 2094 banning North Korea’s financial transactions in relation with its development of nuclear and ballistic missile development.
Jan. 6: North Korea conducts its fourth nuclear test, which the country claims to be its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb.
Jan. 6: The UNSC issues a press statement condemning the nuclear test and warns of additional sanctions to come.
Feb. 7: North Korea launches a long-range rocket from the Dongchang-ri launch site. The country claims a Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite successfully achieved orbit due to the launch.
Feb. 7: In an emergency meeting, the UNSC issues a statement condemning the launch and agrees to speedily adopt punitive measures.
March 2: The UNSC adopts Resolution 2270, billed the most stringent ever at the time, requiring U.N. members to search North Korean cargo, restricting North Korea’s global cargo traffic and banning transactions of North Korean mineral resources.
March 17: North Korea fires two ballistic missiles into the East Sea.
March 18: The UNSC denounces the launch in a press statement.
April 23: North Korea fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile into the East Sea.
April 24: The UNSC issues a press statement in condemnation.
June 1: The UNSC issues a press statement condemning North Korea’s ballistic missile launches in April and May.
June 22: North Korea fires two medium-range ballistic missiles, one of which flies 400 kilometers.
June 23: The UNSC issues a press statement to denounce the launches.
Aug. 26: The UNSC adopts a press statement condemning North Korea’s several ballistic missile launches in July and August and warning of further measures.
Sept. 5: North Korea fires what are believed to be three Rodong midrange missiles into the East Sea.
Sept. 6: The UNSC adopts a press statement to condemn the launches.
Sept. 9: North Korea conducts its fifth nuclear test.
Sept. 9: The UNSC issues a press statement denouncing the nuclear test after holding an emergency meeting. It also warns of further sanctions.
Oct. 15: North Korea test-fires what is believed to be a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. It explodes after being fired.
Oct. 17: The UNSC issues a press statement condemning the Musudan missile launch and warns of grave further measures.
Nov. 30: The UNSC adopts Resolution 2321 in response to the fifth nuclear test, putting a cap on exports of North Korean coal, the country’s major foreign income source.
June 2: The UNSC adopts Resolution 2356 blacklisting four more North Korean entities and 14 individuals.
Aug. 5: The UNSC adopts Resolution 2371 in condemnation of North Korea’s launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles, imposing a blanket ban on the overseas sales of North Korean coal, iron ore, other mineral resources and seafood and restricting North Korea’s exports of its workers.
Aug. 26: North Korea fires three short-range projectiles from its southeastern region.
Aug. 29: North Korea fires a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile from Sunan, Pyongyang.
Sept. 3: North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test. The country announces it was a successful test of a hydrogen bomb that is designed to fit atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Sept. 11: The UNSC unanimously adopts Resolution 2375 in response to the nuclear test. The resolution puts a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea at the current annual level of 4 million barrels and limits exports of refined petroleum products to the country to 2 million barrels annually. They together slash North Korea’s oil supplies from outside by 30 percent. It also bans overseas sales of North Korean textiles and further restricts the country’s exports of its workers.