The U.N. Security Council sanctions committee has called for a freeze of assets of three North Korean companies it says are involved in the arms trade, as well as updating a lengthy list of items that North Korea will now be prohibited from either importing or exporting. The action comes three weeks after Pyongyang conducted a rocket launch that violated existing U.N. resolutions forbidding it to.
After a week of deliberations and under a Security Council-imposed deadline for Friday, the sanctions committee designated the Korean Mining Development Trading Corporation and Korea Ryonbong General Corporation, as well as Tanchon Commercial Bank as subject to an asset freeze.
The move comes under Security Council Resolution 1718, which allows for the freeze of funds owned or controlled either directly or indirectly by the designated entity.
Sanctions Committee Chairman, Turkish Ambassador Baki Ilkin, said the committee also agreed to update a long list of items North Korea will now be forbidden to import or export. "For the purpose of implementing resolution 1718 the committee has agreed to update a lengthy list of items, materials, equipment, goods and technology whose import to and export from the DPRK are prohibited. This update includes some of the latest technologies relevant to ballistic missile programs," he said.
Diplomats close to the talks said those items are basically the same ones that are included in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and include certain rocket systems, missile-related components and related technology.
On April 5, North Korea launched a rocket that flew over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean. Several countries, including the United States, believed that launch was cover for a ballistic missile test. Pyongyang said it launched a communications satellite that is playing patriotic songs in outer space.
Japan has been at the forefront pushing for a strong Security Council reaction to the launch. Ambassador Yukio Takasu said his government is very pleased that the council made what he called an 'extraordinary' effort. "I hope that this unity of the council could send, I hope, a good signal to rest of world, because a decision by the sanction committee is binding upon member states," he said.
North Korea's deputy U.N. envoy Pak Tok Hun, who was outside the meeting room, told reporters that the peaceful use of space is every country's inalienable right, and the sanctions against his country are a "wanton violation of the U.N. Charter."
"That's why we totally reject and do not recognize any sort of decision which has been made or will be made in the Security Council."
All 192-member states of the United Nations are obligated to enforce the sanctions committee's designations of goods and entities. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.