Last Friday the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on 18 DPRK officials and entities in response to North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile tests. The UN press release is here, and a link to the new resolution (2356 (2017)) is here.
The EU’s implementing measures (published today) are Commission Regulation 2017/970 amending Council Regulation 329/2007 and Council Decision 2017/975 implementing Council Decision 2016/849.
The sanctions subject listed people and entities to an asset freeze and travel ban in all UN countries. Among those newly listed are Cho Il-U, said to be in charge of DPRK’s foreign espionage activities, the Vice Director of its Propaganda and Agitation department, and the Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army, which is responsible for the country’s ballistic missile programmes. The US representative to the UN Security Council, which sponsored the resolution, warned that the pressure on DPRK would not cease until it ended its illegal activities, and China’s representative expressed support for the “double strengthening” of the non-proliferation regime.
Separately, OFAC also designated 3 people and 6 entities said to be responsible for financing and supporting North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The details are here.
The US House of Representatives has approved new sanctions on North Korea, by a majority of 419 to 1. The sanctions would prohibit ships and aircraft from using US ports if their port of origin has failed to comply with UN rules on shipments involving North Korea. They would also embargo all goods produced by North Koreans unless US authorities conclude that there was no slave labour involved in their production, and the US Department of State would also be charged with determining whether any non-US firms employing North Koreans should be made subject to sanctions for human trafficking. In order for the new sanctions to become law, they must be passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump.
The Trump administration has announced that its strategy on North Korea will be to increase sanctions and diplomatic pressure until North Korea ends its nuclear and missile programmes. The announcement came after Trump briefed all 100 US senators, who said that no specific military option was presented to them. The South Korean president’s office also released a statement saying that South Korea and the US had agreed “to swiftly take punitive measures, including a new UN Security Council resolution, that are unbearable for the North” if North Korea continues to breach international law.
The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile test, and threatened to “take further significant measures including sanctions”. In a statement, the Security Council demanded that North Korea fully comply with its obligations under the relevant UN resolutions, including immediately terminating its illegal ballistic missile and nuclear activities.
Japan has decided to renew its unilateral sanctions on North Korea for a further 2 years. The sanctions ban all trade between Japan and North Korea, and ban North Korean ships from docking at Japanese ports. The EU expanded the scope of its sanctions on North Korea earlier this week (see previous blog).
The EU has decided to expand its nuclear-proliferation sanctions on North Korea, in response to its apparent violations of UN resolutions and the threat it poses to international peace and security. The new sanctions expand existing prohibitions on investment to new sectors, namely conventional arms, metallurgy, and aerospace. They also prohibit the provision of computer services and services linked to mining and manufacturing in the chemical, mining, and refining industry to people and entities in North Korea.
In addition, the Council has added 4 more people to its sanctions listings on North Korea, for being responsible for supporting or promoting North Korea’s nuclear, ballistic missile, or other WMD-related programmes. They are Ri Myong Su, So Hong Chan, Wang Chang Uk, and Jang Chol. This brings the total number of listed people to 41, in addition to 7 entities. See Regulation 2017/658 amending Regulation 329/2007, and Decision 2017/666 and Decision 2017/667 amending Decision 2016/849.
OFAC has sanctioned 11 North Korean nationals and 1 entity said by the USA to be working as agents of the North Korean regime in Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cuba to provide that regime and other designated entities with financial support or WMD procurement services. The newly designated people operated in the WMD-related, financial, and mining sectors. OFAC’s press release which explains and lists the targeted people / enties is here.
ZTE (Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd), a Chinese telecoms company, has agreed with OFAC, BIS and the DOJ in the USA to plead guilty to civil and criminal charges of violating US sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and pay a combined $1.2bn in fines ($300m of which is suspended). It also agreed to a 7-year suspended denial of export privileges, and to dismiss 4 senior officials who were involved in the violations.
A 5-year-long investigation found that ZTE had conspired to evade US sanctions by incorporating US components into its equipment and illegally shipping it to Iran, and by making 283 shipments of telecoms equipment to North Korea. ZTE is also said to have used “isolation companies” to conceal the use of controlled US-components, intentionally failed to mention them on customs declarations, employed people to specifically remove incriminating evidence from internal communications, and caused its lawyers to unintentionally lie to US officials.
ZTE was first penalised by US authorities in March 2016, when US companies were prohibited from selling to it without a specific licence, and non-US companies were prohibited from selling products to it which contained a significant percentage of US-made components (see previous blog). The US Department of Commerce will recommend that the requirement for a licence to do business with ZTE be lifted if ZTE complies with the terms of its settlement agreement.