North Korea Nuclear Test Draws Fierce Sanctions

North Korea‘s nuclear test in February has drawn a sharp response from the international community. Today the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to inflict additional sanctions upon the isolated nation.

“The Security Council’s adoption of this resolution shows that the international community is united in its condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and continued violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” a State Department press release reads.

The sanctions are intended to hinder North Korea’s ability to continue its efforts to develop nuclear warheads and come with a commitment to take further measures in the event of future tests or launches.

Today’s resolution inflicts new financial sanctions aimed at blocking monetary transactions in support of North Korea’s illicit affairs. The resolution authorizes countries to bar the travel of individuals contributing to North Korea’s nuclear program and to inspect suspicious cargo within their borders potentially carrying prohibited items. The UN added new items to the sanctions list, namely specific luxury goods such as yachts and automobiles that North Korea’s ruling elite enjoy.

The UN Security Council consists of 15 members. Five of the members are permanent and hold veto powers: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. China sends North Korea a sharp message by throwing its weight behind this measure, for China has traditionally been North Korea’s strongest ally. China feels uneasy about the possibility of a conflict breaking out on the Korean peninsula, which would place US forces just off of China’s shores and possibly further increase US influence in the region.

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The resolution comes during a week of threats between North and South Korea. North Korea has threatened to attack if South Korea and the US do not halt their joint military exercises involving over 200,000 soldiers. South Korea followed up with a guarantee of strong retaliation. Any conflict between the two nations would draw in the US, just as the Korean War did 60 years ago. The international community hopes the continued use of sanctions will eventually break down North Korea’s nuclear test plans.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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