On the heels of North Korea’s nuclear test, the U.N. agreed today to a new round of sanctions on the rogue state. Those sanctions, however, are mostly incremental and far from comprehensive.
The financial sanctions block the assets of a handful of individuals and entities. They also prohibit North Korean banks from opening new branches in member countries. North Korean banks are forbidden from joint ventures with, or ownership interests in, banks in member states but only if the member state believes that these ventures or interests could contribute to North Korea’s nuclear or missile programs. An absolute prohibition is imposed on bulk cash transfers to North Korea.
New inspection measures are also imposed. Member states are directed to detain and inspect cargo to and from North Korea if there is reason to believe that the cargo contains items prohibited under these new sanctions or previous sanctions. Among the prohibited items added by the new sanctions are perfluorinated lubricants, certain valves useful in uranium enrichment, and control and measurement equipment for wind tunnels.
The new sanctions also include prohibitions of export to North Korea of sodium perchlorate. That chemical is not particularly useful as a propellant because of its tendency to absorb moisture. As such, it is not specifically listed on the Missile Technology Control Regime. However, it is apparently useful as a precusor to ammonium perchlorate, which is more interesting as a propellant and which is listed on the MTCR.
Of course, no sanctions on North Korea would be complete without tossing in prohibitions on a few more luxury goods. The new sanctions clarify that prohibited luxury items include precious and semi-precious stones (such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies), jewelry with pearls, yachts and racing cars.
My guess is that Kim Jong Un decided to threaten the U.S. with a preemptive nuclear attack when he heard that the new sanctions would include pearl necklaces.