Sanctions against North Korea
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Sanctions against North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, have been imposed by a number of countries and international bodies. The current sanctions are largely concerned with North Korea's nuclear weapons program and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006. The US Department of Treasury has sanctioned North Korea since the 1950s. Sanctions against North Korea further tightened with international bombings against South Korea by North Korean agents during the 1980s (Rangoon bombing, KAL flight 858 bombing). In 1988 the US added North Korea to the Department of State’s list of state sponsors of international terrorism. Sanctions against North Korea started to ease during the 1990s when South Korea’s then liberal government pushed for engagement policies with the North, and the Clinton administration signed the Agreed Framework with North Korea in 1994. However, the relaxing of economic sanctions was short lived. North Korea continued its nuclear program and officially withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and countries started to reinstate various sanctions. Additional sanctions and UN Security Council Resolutions were imposed after North Korea performed nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and more recently in 2016 and 2017. Initially, sanctions focused on trade bans on weapons related materials and goods, but expanded to luxury goods to target the elites. Further sanctions expanded to financial assets and banking transactions, and general travel and trade.
United Nations Security Council sanctions
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the United Nations
The UN Security Council has passed a number of resolutions since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006.
Resolution 1718 in 2006 demanded that North Korea cease nuclear testing and prohibited the export to North Korea of some military supplies and luxury goods. The UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea was established, supported by the Panel of Experts.
Resolution 1874, passed after the second nuclear test in 2009, broadened the arms embargo. Member states were encouraged to inspect ships and destroy any cargo suspected being related to the nuclear weapons program.
Resolution 2087, passed in January 2013 after a satellite launch, strengthened previous sanctions by clarifying a state’s right to seize and destroy cargo suspected of heading to or from North Korea for purposes of military research and development.
Resolution 2270, passed in March 2016 after the fourth nuclear test, further strengthened sanctions. It banned the export of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals. The export of coal and iron were also banned, with an exemption for transactions that were purely for "livelihood purposes".
Resolution 2321, passed in November 2016, capped North Korea's coal exports and banned exports of copper, nickel, zinc, and silver. In February 2017, a UN panel said that 116 of 193 member states had not yet submitted a report on their implementation of these sanctions, though China had. Also in February 2017, China announced it would ban all imports of coal for the rest of the year.
Resolution 2371, passed in August 2017, banned all exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. The resolution also imposed new restrictions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and prohibited any increase in the number of North Koreans working in foreign countries.
Resolution 2375, passed on 11 September 2017, limited North Korean crude oil and refined petroleum product imports, banned joint ventures, textile exports, natural gas condensate and liquid imports, and banned North Korean nationals from working abroad in other countries.
United Nations agencies are restricted in the aid they can give to North Korea because of the sanctions, but they can help with nutrition, health, water, and sanitation.
PRC Ministry of Commerce has banned exports of some petroleum products and imports of textiles from North Korea in line with United Nations sanctions.
United States sanctions
In February 2016, President Barack Obama enacted the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757Pub.L. 114–122), which passed the House of Representatives and the Senate with nearly unanimous support. This law:
- requires the President to sanction entities found to have contributed to North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, arms trade, human rights abuses or other illegal activities.
- imposes mandatory sanctions for entities involved in North Korea's mineral or metal trades, which comprise a large part of North Korea's foreign exports.
- requires the US Treasury Department to determine whether North Korea should be listed as a "primary money laundering concern," which would trigger tough new financial restrictions.
- imposes new sanctions authorities related to North Korean human rights abuses and abuses of cybersecurity.
In August 2017, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act was enacted.
On 21 September 2017 President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13810 allowing the United States to cut from its financial system and/or freeze assets of any companies, businesses, organisations and individuals trading in goods, services or technology with North Korea. Also any aircraft or ship upon entering North Korea is banned for 180 days from entering the United States. The same restriction applies to ships which conducted ship to ship transfers with North Korean ships. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that "Foreign financial institutions are now on notice that going forward they can choose to do business with the United States or North Korea, but not both." A statement from the White House said “Foreign financial institutions must choose between doing business with the United States or facilitating trade with North Korea or its designated supporters.” On 25 September 2017, the US Treasury barred the entry of North Korean nationals to the United States.
Following the abduction of a South Korean fishing vessel, additional sanctions were ordered by the US Treasury on 26 October 2017, following a culmination of 'flagrant' rights abuses including executions, torture, and forced labor. Seven individuals and three North Korean entities were affected by the sanctions.
On 11 July 2018, NATO leaders called for continued pressure and ongoing sanctions enforcement on North Korea, during a summit of the 29 member countries taking place in Brussels. The group signed a declaration which called on members to maintain pressure on the DPRK, though also welcomed recent diplomatic progress in the region. 
South Korean sanctions
- banning North Korean ships from South Korean territorial waters.
- suspending inter-Korean trade except at the Kaesong Industrial Zone.
- banning most cultural exchanges.
In 2016, President Park Geun-hye ordered the Kaesong complex shut in retaliation for the nuclear test in January and the rocket launch in February.
In 2016, Japan's sanctions against North Korea include:
- banning remittances, except those made for humanitarian purposes and less than 100,000 yen in value.
- freezing assets of suspect individuals and organizations in Japan.
- prohibiting North Korean citizens from entering Japan.
- renewing the ban on North Korean ships entering Japanese ports and extending it to include other ships that have visited North Korea.
- banning nuclear and missile technicians who have been to North Korea from entering Japan.
The European Union has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea since 2006. These include:
- an embargo on arms and related material.
- banning the export of aviation and rocket fuel to North Korea.
- banning the trade in gold, precious metals and diamonds with the North Korean government.
- banning the import of minerals from North Korea, with some exemptions for coal and iron ore.
- banning exports of luxury goods.
- restrictions on financial support for trade with North Korea.
- restrictions on investment and financial activities.
- inspections and monitoring of cargoes imported to and exported from North Korea.
- prohibiting certain North Korean individuals from entering the EU.
On 21 September 2017, EU banned oil exports and investments in North Korea.
Australia has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea from August 2017.
A report by the United Nations Panel of Experts stated that North Korea was covertly trading in arms and minerals in defiance of the sanctions.
The academic John Delury has described the sanctions as futile and counterproductive. He has argued that they are unenforceable and unlikely to stop North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
On the other hand, Sung-Yoon Lee, Professor in Korean Studies at the Fletcher School, and Joshua Stanton, advocate continued tightening of sanctions, targeting Pyongyang's systemic vulnerabilities, including blocking the regime's "offshore hard currency reserves and income with financial sanctions, including secondary sanctions against its foreign enablers. This would significantly diminish, if not altogether deny, Kim the means to pay his military, security forces and elites that repress the North Korean public".
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- List of international sanctions against North Korea, published by Sanctionswiki.org
- United Nations Documents for DPRK (North Korea)
- UN Security Council Committee Established Pursuant to Resolution 1718 (2006) (Reports issued by the UN Panel of Experts, established to support of the Sanctions Committee in carrying out its mandate as specified in paragraph 12 of resolution 1718)