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DPRK Sanctions Timeline

Comprehensive timeline of North Korea sanctions and the events that triggered them: 1985-2019

Last updatedJune 21, 2019 at 1230 GMT (V250)

Introduction

The United Nations Security Council imposed its first enforceable arms embargo and other sanctions on the DPRK on 14 October 2006 when it adopted resolution 1718 (2006). The arms embargo followed the DPRK’s first nuclear test on October 9 of that year.

UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1718 is important because it was the first UN Security Council resolution directed at the DPRK’s development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. This part of the UN Charter sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and non-military action to “restore international peace and security”.

UNSCR 1718 focused on non-military actions to encourage the DPRK to suspend its ballistic missile programme and completely abandon efforts to produce a nuclear weapon. The range of sanctions included in the resolution were an important part of that non-violent “encouragement”.

There was an important precursor to UNSCR 1718. Earlier in the year on July 15, 2006, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1695 (2006). This resolution condemned the missile test launches carried out by the DPRK on July 4, 2006. Unlike the discussions that would surround the adoption of UNSCR 1718, China and Russia requested that UNSCR 1695 did not invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. Nevertheless UNSCR 1695 banned the selling of material that would further the ability of the DPRK to bolster its ballistic missiles programme but this ban did not have the force of all the later DPRK sanctions resolutions that did invoke Chapter VII.

Despite UNSCR 1695 and the much stronger UNSCR 1718, the DPRK has continued to develop WMD programmes and the UN Security Council has adopted further sanctions resolutions since 2006. Each new resolution has been in response to further nuclear weapons tests and/or ballistic missile launches by the DPRK. The consequent sanctions regime have mostly lengthened the list of embargoed arms, the list of (ill-defined) luxury goods and the list of dual-use goods and technology. Each time more entities and officials connected with the DPRK are targeted with financial sanctions and travel bans.

This raft of UN sanctions imposed on the DPRK over the past decade has failed to prevent Pyongyang from scaling up its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, a leaked report from a UN panel of experts has concluded. “There are serious questions about the efficacy of the current United Nations sanctions regime” it says.

Andray Abrahamian in his March 2016 38 North article describes how North Koreans have learnt to navigate the many restrictions imposed on them during the last ten years. For example, they regularly skirt around financial restrictions by using informal money transfers to banks in China; that is, cash from Pyongyang crosses the border via intermediaries and turns up in a Chinese bank account with no formal record of origin. He points out that the more aggressive financial sanctions imposed by UNSCR 2270 and subsequent UNSC resolutions will only succeed against these sorts of evasive tactics developed by the DPRK if its neighbours—as well as traders, bankers and regimes around the world—are willing to cooperate.

Neither of those ‘neighbours’ [China and Russia] will close all of these sanctions evading channels, but for different reasons. China’s motivations for ignoring them have not changed. Beijing wants to preserve stability and the status quo on the Korean Peninsula. For Beijing, the goal of sanctions is not regime change. It will avoid any action that might lead to a collapse of North Korea and the likely violent and bloody chaos that would follow. In addition, the current divided Korea provides a buffer between China and the encroachment of U.S. influence from South Korea while tying down Washington’s diplomatic and military attention in the region. But in a paradoxically “liberal, capitalist stance”, says Andray Abrahamian, “where trade interdependence leads to stability and peace”, China also believes “that a resolution of the Korean question will eventually emerge through the DPRK’s increased economic integration with the region.” Implicit in that belief is also the hope that “Pyongyang will emulate the Chinese socioeconomic model.”

If China’s optimism about the way to resolve the “Korean question” is misplaced, then the question “are sanctions enough to deal with North Korea” is an obvious one to ask. Paul Park and Katharine H. S. Moon seek to answer that very question in their March 2, 2016, Brookings blog piece. They observe that sanctions are not strategy [our italics] and argue that the “most important requirement to making sanctions effective is missing in Washington and the United Nations: a strategy with clear goals, benchmarks, long-term diplomatic roadmap, and negotiable items.” They go on to suggest that, for lack of a coherent and credible strategy, we “are now farther away from achieving a denuclearized peninsula than we were a decade ago.”

That reality is underlined by Henri Feron in his May 5, 2014, Asia-Pacific Journal—Japan Focus paper. Feron provides compelling evidence from careful analysis of the useable economic data and other indicators that sanctions have failed to stop the DPRK’s economic growth and recovery. He argues that the “coming North Korean collapse” is wishful thinking and that contrary to expectations, comparatively reliable indicators on food and trade suggest that the DPRK has largely recovered from the economic catastrophe of the 1990s, despite the extremely hostile conditions it has faced since then. “If collapse ever threatened the DPRK”, he says, “it was twenty years ago, not now.”

Perhaps in recognition of this—and as a sign that sanctions have failed and U.S. strategic patience is wearing thin—one influential commentator in the U.S. has recently (December 23, 2014) argued that regime change in the DPRK should be the explicit aim of American foreign policy (see Richard Haass in the Wall Street Journal). However current UN (and U.S. sanctions) are neither robust enough nor targeted enough to achieve regime change. If UN sanctions were, comment Park and Moon, China and Russia would not have agreed them.

Given the evidence summarised above, it is neither humane nor sensible to continue a policy of sanctions and diplomatic isolation that only acts against the people of the DPRK, not the regime and its ambitions to become a nuclear power. So where does all this leave sanctions policy against the DPRK? Henri Feron has an answer:

“[Sanctions and isolation] have failed to fulfil any substantial objectives to date, be it regime change or nuclear non-proliferation, and will be even less likely to fulfil them in the future, if the country continues to grow.

“In these circumstances, continued sanctions and forced isolation may not be meaningfully contributing to international peace and security. Marginalization has not only failed to ‘pacify’ the country, it even seems to have radicalized it. It is obvious that the more we isolate the DPRK, the more it will want to develop its self-defence capabilities, and the less it will stand to lose from infuriating its neighbours with its nuclear and ballistic research programs. Better integration into the world community would likely be much more effective in shifting its political priorities.

“The DPRK, far from being the crazed and trigger-happy buccaneer it is made out to be in international media, is—like many other countries—prioritiz[ing] its own safety and prosperity. Since the country insists on its right to self-determination and has apparently found ways to maintain it without collapsing in the face of international power, we should stop senselessly segregating it and instead help it integrate into the global village, by giving it reasonable security guarantees and establishing mutually beneficial trade relations. This is not about ‘rewarding’ the DPRK, but simply about choosing the ounce of prevention that will be worth the pound of cure and opting for a policy that best serves world peace.”

Other useful DPRK sanctions timelines and commentaries

The European Sanctions site is an important and reliable resource on the sanctions adopted by the European union (EU) and its [currently] 28 Member States against 32 sanctioned countries, including of course the DPRK, plus ISIL and Al-Qaeda. Interestingly, the USA is included as the 33rd country in the blog’s list of ‘sanctioned’ countries. However these sanctions are special “in that they are not imposed against the USA, per se, but rather to protect EU individuals and businesses from the extra-territorial effect of U.S. laws regarding carrying out business in Iran, Libya and Cuba.” The European Sanctions site offers very accessible summaries and commentaries on the evolving list of EU sanctions Directives and Regulations. It is maintained by two legal experts in this area of law, Maya Lester QC and Michael O’Kane, the latter a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at a leading UK law firm.

The detailed sanctions timeline that follows includes appropriate entries from this site. It also incorporates entries from a second timeline, much quoted in the literature about the two Koreas. This timeline is The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, a United Nations Security Council Study Guide. It is somewhat dated now as the last entry on its timeline is for May 7, 2013. While it records, inter alia, many sanctions events until that point in time, its primary focus is on the post-war history of the Korean Peninsular, the DPRK’s missile and nuclear weapons development, and the actions of the international community in response to this. The purpose of its timeline, it says, is “to identify patterns and changes in foreign policy, their causes and consequences.”

Naming conventions

Names of geographical locations/areas are normally given by their internationally recognised identification. Where, however, there is a dispute between Korea and neigbouring countries about naming, the internationally recognised name is used but followed by the name preferred by Koreans. Such is the case of the Sea of Japan, the area of ocean that lies between the east coast of the Korean peninsula and Japan. Koreans (North and South) refer to it as the East Sea to reflect the importance of Korea in the region. Hence, in this timeline it is referred to as “Sea of Japan/East Sea”.

The UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) is the important UN Security Council body created to monitor and advise on the implementation of sanctions against the DPRK that have been adopted by the UN Security Council. It is more commonly referred to within this timeline as the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee or sometimes the DPRK Sanctions Committee.

Quick Index

1985

1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

1985

December 12, DPRK ratifies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

the DPRK ratifies the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. However it does not complete a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This required, among other monitoring provisions, the instalation of cameras and allowing permanent access to IAEA inspectors at all its nuclear-related facilities.

Under Article III of the NPT, North Korea has 18 months to conclude such an arrangement. However it fails to meet deadlines for implementing safeguards until the early 1990s, linking adherence to this provision of the treaty to the withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from South Korea.

[Sources: Arms Control Association and History Commons]

1990

May, U.S intelligence satellites observe a new missile and evidence it exploded on launch pad

A new missile, later identified as a Rodong-1 (spelled Nodong-1 or simply Nodong in South Korea?), was observed at the Musudan-ri launch facility in the DPRK. Based on images gathered by U.S. intelligence satellites, burn marks on the launch pad indicated a possible explosion and launch failure.

[Source: NK News]

June, DPRK: First reported successful flight test of the Hwasong-6 (Scud-C) missile.

First reported successful flight test of the Hwasong-6 (Scud-C) missile. Launched from Nodong test site over the Sea of Japan.

[Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance]

1991

September 27, U.S. announces the unilateral withdrawal of all land and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons deployed abroad

President George Bush announces the unilateral withdrawal from overseas bases and operational deployment of all land- and sea-based tactical nuclear weapons. On October 5, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev reciprocates.

It is believed that the nuclear weapons that were in South Korea since 1958 were withdrawn by the end of 1991. Sources differ on the number of U.S. nuclear weapons involved. The Arms Control Association timeline of the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs suggests there were approximately 100 based in South Korea in 1991 while the author of this Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus article refers to “the withdrawal of over 2,000 nuclear weapons.”

[Other sources: About the USA (maintained by the Information Resource Centers/U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany) and National Security Archive at George Washington University]

November 8, President Roh Tae Woo of South Korea announces the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

In response to President Bush’s unilateral move, President Roh Tae Woo of South Korea announces the Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, under which South Korea promises not to produce, possess, store, deploy, or use nuclear weapons. In addition, the declaration unilaterally prohibits South Korea from possessing nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities. These promises, if enacted, would satisfy all of the DPRK’s conditions for allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 31, The two Koreas sign the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

The two Koreas sign the South-North Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Under the declaration, both countries agree not to “test, manufacture, produce, receive, possess, store, deploy or use nuclear weapons” or to “possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities.” They also agree to mutual inspections for verification.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

1992

January 30, DPRK concludes a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA

More than six years after signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the DPRK concludes a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

March 6, U.S. imposes missile proliferation sanctions against two DPRK entities

The United States Government sanctions the Lyongaksan Machineries and Equipment Export Corporation and Changgwang Credit Corporation in the DPRK for missile proliferation with Iran in violation of the two U.S. missile sanctions laws, the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act, which prohibit the transfers of missile equipment or technology by foreign persons.

[Source: Federal Register Volume 57, Number 67]

April 9, DPRK ratifies the safeguards agreement with the IAEA

The DPRK ratifies the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

May 4, DPRK submits its nuclear material declarations to the IAEA

The DPRK submits its nuclear material declarations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), declaring seven sites and some 90 grams of plutonium that could be subject to IAEA inspection. Pyongyang claims that the nuclear material was the result of reprocessing 89 defective fuel rods in 1989. The IAEA conducted inspections to verify the completeness of this declaration from mid-1992 to early 1993.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

June 23, U.S. further sanctions two DPRK entities under it Missile Sanctions Laws

The United States imposes further sanctions under its Missile Sanctions Laws, Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2797b) and Export Administration Act (50 U.S.C. Appx 2410b), on the two North Korean entities sanctioned in March.

[Sources: Arms Control Association and U.S. Department of Sate Archive]

September, IAEA inspectors discover discrepancies in the DPRK’s “initial report” on its nuclear program

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors discover discrepancies in the DPRK’s “initial report” on its nuclear program and asks for clarification on several issues, including the amount of reprocessed plutonium in North Korea.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

1993

February 9, IAEA demands special inspections of two sites that are believed to store nuclear waste

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands special inspections of two sites that are believed to store nuclear waste. The request is based on strong evidence that the DPRK has been cheating on its commitments under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Pyongyang refuses the IAEA’s request.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

March 12, DPRK announces its intention to withdraw from the NPT

Amid demands for special inspections, DPRK announces its intention to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) in three months, citing Article X provisions that allow withdrawal for supreme national security considerations.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

April 1, IAEA declares that DPRK is not adhering to its safeguards agreement

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) alerts the UN Security Council to the non-complince of the DPRK with its obligations under the IAEA-DPRK safeguards agreement, declaring that the DPRK is not adhering to the agreement and that the IAEA cannot guarantee that North Korean nuclear material is not being diverted for non-peaceful uses.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

May 11, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 825 calling on the DPRK not to withdraw from the NPT

The UN Security Council adopted resolution 825 which called upon the DPRK to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which it had signed on 30 January 1992.

The UN Security Council resolution noted with regret the findings contained in the IAEA Board of Governors’ resolution of 1 April 1993 which alerted the Security Council to the non-complince of the DPRK with its obligations under the IAEA-DPRK safeguards agreement. The UN Security Council resolution also called upon the DPRK to allow weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into the country, after it had refused them entry in February.

The resolution passed with 13 votes, none against and two abstentions from the People’s Republic of China (PRD) and Pakistan, which both called for North Korea to return to the NPT. At the insistence of the PRC the resolution did not make reference to any sanctions if the DPRK failed to comply with the Security Council.

The Security Council noted with concern the intentions of the DPRK and reaffirmed the “crucial contribution which progress in non-proliferation can make to the maintenance of international peace and security” and called on the North Korean government to be committed and honour its obligations under the Treaty.

[Sources: UN Security Council and Wikipedia]

June 11, DPRK suspends its decision to pull out of the NPT after talks with the U.S.

Following talks with the United States in New York, DPRK suspends its decision to pull out of the NPT just before the withdrawal would have become legally effective. It also agrees to the full and impartial application of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards.

For its part, the United States grants assurances against the threat and use of force, including nuclear weapons. Washington also promises not to interfere with North Korea’s internal affairs.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

July 19, DPRK announces that it is ready to negotiate IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities

After a second round of talks with the United States, DPRK announces in a joint statement that it is “prepared to begin consultations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on outstanding safeguards and other issues” and that it is ready to negotiate IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. The joint statement also indicates that Pyongyang might consider a deal with the United States to replace its graphite nuclear reactors with light-water reactors (LWRs), which are proliferation resistant.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

1994

January, CIA assessment that DPRK may have produced one or two nuclear weapons

The director of the CIA assesses that DPRK may have produced one or two nuclear weapons, based on an ealier CIA estimate that the country had separated about 12 kilograms of plutonium.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

February 15, DPRK finalises an agreement with the IAEA to allow inspections of all its facilities

DPRK finalises an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to allow inspections of all seven of its declared nuclear facilities, averting sanctions by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

March 1, IAEA inspectors arrive in DPRK for the first inspections since 1993

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors arrive in DPRK for the first inspections since 1993.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

March 21, DPRK refuses to allow the IAEA inspection team to inspect a plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon

Responding to DPRK’s refusal to allow the inspection team to inspect a plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approves a resolution calling on DPRK to “immediately allow the IAEA to complete all requested inspection activities and to comply fully with its safeguards agreements.”

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

May 19, IAEA confirms that DPRK has begun removing spent fuel from its 5 MW research reactor without monitors present

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms that DPRK has begun removing spent fuel from its 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor even though international monitors were not present. The United States and the IAEA had insisted that inspectors be present for any such action because spent fuel can potentially be reprocessed for use in nuclear weapons.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

June 13, DPRK announces its withdrawal from the IAEA

DPRK announces its withdrawal from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This is distinct from pulling out of the NPT as DPRK was still required to undergo IAEA inspections as part of its NPT obligations. The IAEA contended that DPRK’s safeguards agreement remains in force. However, DPRK no longer participated in IAEA functions as a member state.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

June 15, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiates deal with DPRK to “freeze” its nuclear weapons program and resume high-level talks with the U.S.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiates a deal with DPRK in which Pyongyang confirms its willingness to “freeze” its nuclear weapons program and resume high-level talks with the United States. Bilateral talks were expected to begin, provided that DPRK allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to remain in place, does not refuel its 5-megawatt nuclear reactor, and does not reprocess any spent nuclear fuel.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

July 9, DPRK President Kim Il-sung dies

DPRK President Kim Il-sung dies and is succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-il.

Obituary.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

August 12, U.S. and DPRK sign an “agreed statement” that establishes a three-stage process for the elimination of DPRK’s nuclear weapons program

An “agreed statement” is signed that establishes a three-stage process for the elimination of DPRK’s nuclear weapons program. In return, the United States promises to move toward normalized economic and diplomatic relations and assures DPRK that it will provide assistance with the construction of proliferation-resistant LWRs to replace DPRK’s graphite-moderated reactors.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

October 21, U.S. and DPRK adopt the “Agreed Framework” in Geneva

The United States and DPRK conclude four months of negotiations by adopting the “Agreed Framework” in Geneva. To resolve U.S. concerns about Pyongyang’s plutonium-producing reactors and the Yongbyon reprocessing facility, the agreement calls for DPRK to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear facilities, a process that will require dismantling three nuclear reactors, two of which were still under construction. DPRK also allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify compliance through “special inspections,” and it agrees to allow 8,000 spent nuclear reactor fuel elements to be removed to a third country.

In exchange, Pyongyang was to receive two light-water reactors (LWRs) and annual shipments of heavy fuel oil during construction of the reactors. The LWRs will be financed and constructed through the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), a multinational consortium.

Calling for movement toward full normalization of political and economic relations, the accord also was to serve as a jumping-off point for U.S.-DPRK dialogue on Pyongyang’s development and export of ballistic missiles, as well as other issues of bilateral concern.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

November 28, IAEA announces confirmation that construction has been halted at two DPRK nuclear facilities

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that it had confirmed that construction has been halted at DPRK’s Nyongbyon and Taochon nuclear facilities and that these facilities were not operational.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

1995

March 9, KEDO is formed in New York

Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is formed in New York with the United States, South Korea, and Japan as the organization’s original members.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

1996

April 21-22, U.S. and DPRK meet in Berlin for their first round of bilateral missile talks

The United States and DPRK met in Berlin for their first round of bilateral missile talks. The United States reportedly suggested that DPRK should adhere to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary international agreement aimed at controlling sales of ballistic missile systems, components, and technology. DPRK allegedly demanded that the United States provide compensation for lost missile-related revenue.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

May 24, U.S. imposes sanctions on DPRK for missile technology-related transfer

The United States imposes sanctions on DPRK (and Iran) for missile technology-related transfers. The sanctions prohibit any imports or exports to sanctioned firms and to those sectors of the North Korean economy that are considered missile-related. The pre-existing general ban on trade with both countries makes the sanctions largely symbolic.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide and Federal Register Volume 61, Number 114]

1997

June 11-13, U.S. and DPRK meet in New York for their second round of bilateral missile talks

The second round of U.S.-DPRK missile talks took place in New York (first round in Berlin in April 1996), with U.S. negotiators pressing DPRK not to deploy the Nodong missile and to end sales of Scud missiles and their components. The parties reached no agreement but reportedly lay the foundation for future talks.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

August 6, U.S. imposes new sanctions on two additional DPRK entities for missile-proliferation activities

After United States imposes sanctions on DPRK for missile technology-related transfers in May, the U.S. imposes new sanctions on two additional DPRK entities (Korea Pugang Trading Corp. and Lyongaksan General Trading Corp.)
for unspecified missile-proliferation activities.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide and Federal Register Volume 62, Number 161]

1998

February 25, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung announces his “sunshine policy”

At his inaugural speech, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung announces his “sunshine policy,” which strives to improve inter-Korean relations through peace, reconciliation, and cooperation.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

April 17, U.S. imposes sanctions on DPRK in response to Pyongyang’s transfer of missile technology and components

The United States imposes sanctions on DPRK and Pakistan in response to Pyongyang’s transfer of missile technology and components to Pakistan’s Khan Research Laboratory.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

June 16, KCNA reports that Pyongyang won’t end missile technology exports unless compensated for financial losses

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reports that Pyongyang will only end its missile technology exports if it is suitably compensated for financial losses.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

July 15, Rumsfeld Commission concludes that the U.S. may have little or no warning before facing a long-range ballistic missile threat from DPRK

The bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission concludes that the United States may have “little or no warning” before facing a long-range ballistic missile threat from “rogue states,” such as DPRK and Iran.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

August 31, DPRK launches a new, long-range ballistic missile which overflew Japan

The DPRK caused a strategic weapons storm in the Pacific by launching a three-stage Paektusan-1 rocket that flew over Japan. Pyongyang announced that the rocket successfully placed a small satellite (the Kwangmyongsong-1) into orbit, a claim contested by U.S. Space Command.

The Paektusan-1 rocket is based on the 2-stage Taepodong-1 rocket with a solid-fuelled third-stage to perform orbital insertion. The Taepodong-1 on which Paektusan-1 is based is an intermediate-range ballistic missile thought to have a range of 1,500-2,000 kilometers and believed capable of carrying a 1,000kg nuclear, chemical or conventional warhead.

Japan’s defence agency said the incident would encourage the government to approve plans to develop a missile defence system with the U.S.

Tokyo also responded by withdrawing its financial backing from the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO). Before details of the missile overflight became clear, KEDO had announced that South Korea would fund 70 percent of the cost of supplying peaceful nuclear technology to DPRK, with Japan contributing $1 billion. The U.S. and the European Union were the other contributors.

The U.S. intelligence community admitted being surprised by DPRK’s advances in missile-staging technology and its use of a solid-fuel motor for the missile’s third stage.

[Sources: The Guardian and The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

October 1, U.S. and DPRK meet in New York for their third round of bilateral missile talks

The third round of U.S.-DPRK missile talks begins in New York but makes little progress (first round in Berlin in April 1996, second round in New York June 1997). The United States repeats its request for Pyongyang to terminate its missile programs in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. North Korea rejects the U.S. proposal on the grounds that the lifting of sanctions is implicit in the 1994 Agreed Framework.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

November 12, Under President Bill Clinton, U.S. begins consultations with South Korea and Japan aimed at forming a unified approach to dealing with Pyongyang

President Bill Clinton appoints former Secretary of Defense William Perry to serve as DPRK policy coordinator—a post established by the 1999 Defense Authorization Act. Perry immediately undertakes an interagency review of U.S. policy toward DPRK and begins consultations with South Korea and Japan aimed at forming a unified approach to dealing with Pyongyang.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

December 4-11, U.S. and DPRK hold talks to address U.S. concerns about a suspected underground nuclear facility at Kumchang-ni

The United States and DPRK hold talks to address U.S. concerns about a suspected underground nuclear facility at Kumchang-ni. Pyongyang reportedly accepts in principle the idea of a U.S. inspection of the site but is unable to agree with U.S. proposals for “appropriate compensation.”

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

1999

March 29-31, U.S. and DPRK meet in Pyongyang for their fourth round of bilateral missile talks

U.S. and DPRK officials hold a fourth round of missile talks in Pyongyang (the third round was held in New York in October 1998). The United States again expresses concern over DPRK’s missile development and proliferation activities and proposes a deal exchanging restraint by DPRK for U.S. sanctions relief. U.S. officials describe the talks as “serious and intensive” but succeed only in reaching agreement to meet again at an unspecified date.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

April 25, U.S., South Korea and Japan establish the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group

The United States, South Korea, and Japan establish the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group to institutionalise close consultation and policy coordination in dealing with DPRK.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

May 20-24, U.S. inspection team visits DPRK’s suspected nuclear site in Kumchang-ni

A U.S. inspection team visited DPRK’s suspected nuclear site in Kumchang-ni. According to the State Department, the team finds no evidence of nuclear activity or violation of the Agreed Framework.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

May 25-28, President Bill Clinton sends his DPRK policy coordinator, William Perry, to Pyongyang as a presidential envoy

President Bill Clinton’s DPRK policy coordinator, William Perry, travels to Pyongyang as a presidential envoy. He meets with senior DPRK political, diplomatic, and military officials to discuss a major expansion in bilateral relations if Pyongyang is willing to address U.S. security concerns. Perry delivers a letter from President Clinton to DPRK leader Kim Jong-il, but the two do not meet.

Perry reportedly calls on DPRK to satisfy U.S. concerns about ongoing nuclear weapons-related activities that are beyond the scope of the Agreed Framework and about ballistic missile development and proliferation in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions, normalisation of diplomatic relations, and potentially some form of security guarantee.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

September 7-12, DPRK agrees to a moratorium on testing any long-range missiles for the duration of talks with the U.S.

During talks in Berlin, DPRK agrees to a moratorium on testing any long-range missiles for the duration of talks with the United States. The United States agrees to a partial lifting of economic sanctions on DPRK. The two parties agree to continue high-level discussions. (Sanctions are not actually lifted until June 2000.)

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

September 9, U.S. assesses DPRK probably capable of delivering a 200-kilogram warhead to the U.S. mainland by 2015

A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate reports that DPRK will “most likely” develop an intercontinental-rangle ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a 200-kilogram warhead to the U.S. mainland by 2015.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

September 15, U.S. presidential envoy to Pyongyang submits his review of U.S. policy toward DPRK to Congress

President Clinton’s DPRK policy coordinator William Perry submits his review of U.S. policy toward DPRK to Congress and releases an unclassified version of the report on October 12. The report recommends “a new, comprehensive and integrated approach to … negotiations with the DPRK,” which would involve a coordinated reduction in isolation by the United States and its allies in a “step-by-step and reciprocal fashion.” Potential engagement mechanisms could include the normalisation of diplomatic relations and the relaxation of trade sanctions.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

September 17, President Bill Clinton orders relaxation of sanctions in return for DPRK’s conditional pledge to refrain from long-range missile testing

President Bill Clinton orders a relaxation of strict trade, banking and travel restrictions against DPRK in return for DPRK’s conditional pledge to refrain from long-range missile testing, under an agreement reached during talks the previous week in Berlin.

The changes will allow trade in most consumer goods between the two countries. More importantly, perhaps, it permits the transfer of commercial and personal funds between the two countries and allows commercial air and sea transportation for passengers and cargo.

[Source: Global Policy Forum]

December 15, KEDO officials sign a turn-key contract with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to begin construction on two LWRs in DPRK

Five years after the Agreed Framework was signed, KEDO officials sign a turn-key contract with the Korea Electric Power Corporation to begin construction on the two light-water reactors (LWRs) in Kumho, DPRK. KEDO officials attribute the delay in signing the contract to complex legal and financial challenges and the tense political climate generated by DPRK’s Taepodong-1 test in August 1998.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

2000

April 6, U.S. imposes missile proliferation sanctions against a DPRK entity

The United States Government sanctions the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation in DPRK for missile proliferation with Iran in violation of the two U.S. missile sanctions laws, the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act, which prohibit the transfers of missile equipment or technology by foreign persons.

[Source: Federal Register Volume 65, Number 73]

May 8, Australia resumes diplomatic relations with DPRK

Under Prime Minister John Howard, Australia resumed diplomatic relations with DPRK through the Australian Embassy in Beijing. Ends 25 years of interruption to relations.

[Source: DFAT and BBC]

May 20-24, U.S. conducts its second inspection of DPRK’s suspected nuclear site in Kumchang-ni

The United States conducts its second inspection of the Kumchang-ni site. The inspection team found that conditions had not changed since the first inspection in May 1999.

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

June 13-15, 6.15 Declaration and historic summit between Kim Dae-jung of ROK and Kim Il-sung of DPRK

The summit, which took place in Pyongyang, was the first meeting between Kim Dae-jung of ROK and Kim Il-sung of DPRK. It resulted in the historic 6.15 Declaration (“6.15” representing “June 15th”). The agreement aimed to resolve the question of reunification through cooperation, reconciliation, and self-determination. The declaration pledged, among other things, to work towards eventual reunification, open a dialogue between government officials, engage in economic cooperation, permit family reunions, and engage in cultural and athletic exchanges.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Congressional Research Services (as a PDF file download)]

June 15, U.S. eases sanctions against DPRK following historic North-South Korea summit

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury ammended the Foreign Assets Control Regulations to implement President Bill Clinton’s September 17, 1999, determination to ease economic sanctions against DPRK. The changes authorised new financial, trade, and other transactions with DPRK and its nationals and were in part aimed at encouraging the DPRK to continue to refrain from testing long-range missiles.

The order does not affect counterterrorism or nonproliferation controls on North Korea, which prohibit exports of military and sensitive dual-use items and most types of U.S. assistance. Restrictions imposed by law, such as U.S. missile sanctions, will remain in place.

[Source: Federal Register Volume 65, Number 118 and Global Policy Forum]

July 12, U.S. and DPRK meet in Kuala Lumpur for their fifth round of bilateral missile talks

U.S. and DPRK officials hold a fifth round of missile talks in Kuala Lumpur (the fourth round was held in Pyongyang in March 1999). The talks end without agreement after DPRK demands $1 billion a year in return for halting missile exports.

[Source: The Japan Times]

July 19, President Putin holds talks with President Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with President Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang. After the talks, President Putin is reported as saying that the DPRK leader had offered to give up a missile program in exchange for foreign know-how in space technology.

Earlier, President Putin demanded Washington no longer use DPRK as a justification for developing an anti-missile shield because the country has agreed to a moratorium on missile tests in return for a relaxing of U.S. sanctions.

[Source: UPI]

September 27, U.S. and DPRK meet in New York for their sixth round of bilateral missile talks, this time including nuclear issues and terrorism

U.S.-DPRK talks resume in New York on nuclear issues, missiles, and terrorism (the fifth round was also held in New York in July). The two countries issue a joint statement in which DPRK restates its opposition to terrorism. It was a move that suggests progress toward removing DPRK from the State Department’s terrorism list. However the Clinton Administration later rejects DPRK’s demands that it be delisted.

[Source: Congressional Research Services]

October 24, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ends her groundbreaking two-day visit to Pyongyang

Mrs Albright is the most senior U.S. official ever to visit DPRK. Speaking to reporters after a final round of talks with Kim Jong-il, Mrs Albright said the DPRK leader told her that the test launch of the Taepodong missile in 1998 would be his country’s “first and last”.

During more than six hours of what were described as “serious and constructive” talks, DPRK leader Kim Jong-il told U.S. officials that he is prepared in principle to halt his country’s controversial long-range missile testing programme. The talks also covered a wide range of other issues including terrorism, human rights, and concrete steps for tension reduction on the Korean peninsula.

Mrs Albright said she had made clear that a possible future visit to Pyongyang by President Clinton would depend on progress in these key areas. [For reasons unrelated to this, President Clinton did not travel to Pyonyang during his term as U.S. President.]

[Source: BBC News]

2001

January 2, U.S. imposes missile proliferation sanctions against a DPRK entity

The United States Government sanctions the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation in DPRK for proliferation violations of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. This entity was sanctioned previously in April 2000.

[Source: Federal Register Volume 66, Number 11]

March 6, U.S. under President Bush will “pick up where President Clinton left off” with plans to engage with DPRK

At a joint press briefing with the Swedish foreign minister, Secretary of State Colin Powell says that the [Bush] administration “plan[s] to engage with North Korea to pick up where President Clinton left off. Some promising elements were left on the table and we will be examining those elements.”

[Source: Arms Control Association timeline of DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs]

March 7, U.S.-DPRK deal under President Clinton to eliminate latters medium/long-range missiles and end its missile exports had been “tantalizingly close” says former special adviser

In a New York Times op-ed, Wendy Sherman, former special adviser to the president and secretary of state for North Korea policy, writes that a deal with North Korea to eliminate its medium- and long-range missiles and end its missile exports had been “tantalizingly close” at the end of the Clinton administration.

According to Clinton administration officials, the issue of how to verify a missile deal remained one of the final stumbling blocks to a successful arrangement.

[Source: The New York Times]

March 7, U.S. President George W. Bush and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung meet at the White House

After a working meeting with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung at the White House, President George W. Bush tells reporters that he “look[s] forward to, at some point in the future, having a dialogue with the North Koreans, but that any negotiation would require complete verification of the terms of a potential agreement.”

Rather than continue the Clinton initiative, President Bush made it clear in his meeting with President Kim Dae-jung that he viewed North Korea as a threat. He pointedly questioned whether the DPRK would honor any new arms control pact saying “part of the problem in dealing with North Korea is there’s not very much transparency.”

This dashed South Korea’s hopes for a quick resumption of negotiations to end North Korea’s missile program. These were predicated on continuing U.S. support. President Bush’s refusal to continue U.S dialogue with Pyongyang was seen in some quarters as a snub to the South Korean President.

[Sources: CNN and History Commons]

March 7, North and South Korea schedule fifth round of talks in Seoul March 13-16 to discuss a wide range of inter-Korean issues.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry announces that DPRK and ROK will hold a fifth round of talks in Seoul from March 13-16 to discuss a wide range of inter-Korean issues. The announcement of the talks comes on the same day the U.S. President George W. Bush and South Korean Kim Dae-jung meet in Washington.

[Source: CNN]

March 13, DPRK abruptly cancels scheduled meetings with South Korea

DPRK, apparently reacting to Washington’s new tone, cancels planned ministerial-level talks with Seoul (see entry above) saying only that “a number of circumstances” were responsible for causing a “delay” in the talks.

The talks were intended to promote further political reconciliation. Discussions were to take place on such matters as arrangements for the next round of visits by members of families separated by the Korean War and plans for restoring the railroad link between the North and the South.

[Source: The New York Times]

March 15, DPRK state news agency KCNA threatens country will “take thousand-fold revenge” on U.S.

In a second day of bitter diatribe, the DPRK state-controlled media is continuing its stinging attacks against U.S. President George W Bush for his hard line approach to Pyongyang. Accusing the U.S. of trying to block unification, condemning it for accusing DPRK of being a sponsor of terrorism and lashing out at a U.S. human rights report critcising DPRK for allegedly kidnapping foreigners, ‘Rodong Sinmun’ newspaper warns the U.S. that the country is “prepared for dialogue or war.”

But the U.S. plans for a missile shield to protect against attacks from “rogue states” such as DPRK attracted the fiercest criticism from the state-controlled media. “This is a blatant challenge to the DPRK”, the North Korean news agency KCNA said. It warned the U.S. that in a “confrontation with the DPRK, the army and people of the DPRK will take thousand-fold revenge on them.”

[Source: BBC News]

June 6, U.S. administration completes a three-month review of policy towards DPRK, announces it will undertake “serious discussions” with DPRK on issues including its missile development and nuclear programs

The announcement by President Bush came after the U.S. administration completed a three-month review of policy towards DPRK that followed a meeting between the U.S. President and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in March. The South Korean president was seeking President Bush’s support for his “sunshine” policy of engagement with DPRK (an effort for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000).

President Bush said his aids will undertake “serious discussions” with DPRK on a “broad agenda” that will include improved implementation of the Agreed Framework relating to DPRK’s nuclear activities, verifiable constraints on the country’s missile programs and a ban on its missile exports. The U.S. wants to encourage “a less threatening conventional military posture.”

He went on to say that “our approach will offer North Korea the opportunity to demonstrate the seriousness of its desire for improved relations. If North Korea responds affirmatively and takes appropriate action, we will expand our efforts to help the North Korean people, ease sanctions, and take other political steps.”

[Source: CNN and American Presidency Project, University of California]

June 26, U.S. imposes further missile proliferation sanctions against a DPRK entity

The United States Government again sanctions the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation in DPRK for proliferation violations of the Iran Nonproliferation Act 2000 (INKSNA). The sanctions prohibit any U.S. entity doing business with the company. However the sanctions are largely symbolic as Changgwang Sinyong Corporation is still subject to the active sanctions imposed under INKSNA in January and the missile sanctions imposed in April 2000 under different sanctions legislation.

[Source: Federal Register Volume 66 Number 123]

August 4, Kim Jong-il confirms during meeting with President Putin in Moscow that DPRK will observe moratorium on missile testing until 2003

DPRK leader Kim Jong-il reaffirms his pledge during talks with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that the country will maintain its self-declared moratorium on missile testing until 2003. The moratorium pledge had been made in Pyongyang in July 2000, during a visit there by President Putin.

[Source: RTE]

2002

January 29, President George W. Bush: DPRK is part of the “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush criticised North Korea for “arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.” Bush characterised DPRK, along with Iraq and Iran, as constituting an “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

August 16, U.S imposes sanctions on DPRK for transferring missile technology to Yemen

The United States imposes sanctions on Changgwang Sinyong Corporation of DPRK and on the DPRK government itself for transferring missile technology to Yemen. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer states August 23 that the sanctions were a “pro forma requirement under the law for the State Department” and that Washington remains willing to “talk with North Korea any time, any place.”

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

September 17, Japanese PM and DPRK leader hold summit, first ever meeting between the leaders

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il meet for a one-day summit in Pyongyang, the first ever between the leaders of the two countries. The talks appeared to break longstanding stalemates on several issues and agreed to restart bilateral normalisation talks, but the talks subsequently stalled, due to two developments:

  • The DPRK’s apparent admission to U.S. officials in October 2002 that it had a secret nuclear weapons program based on the process of uranium enrichment; and
  • Outrage in Japan at Kim Jong-il’s admission that North Korea kidnapped 13 Japanese in the 1970s and 1980s and brought them to North Korea to live. According to the North Korean government, by the time it made its admission, 8 of them had died.

Editor’s Note: Japan’s subsequent manipulation of UN sanctions, to gain leverage when negotiating with DPRK over this issue, sometimes put it at odds with friendly countries, the U.S. in particular. It is a sanctions problem unique to Japan that has the potential to be a “wedge issue” between Japan and Japan’s allies.

[Source: Congressional Research Services (CRS) of the U.S. Library of Congress]

October 3-5, The highest-ranking U.S. administration official to visit Pyongyang

James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, visited North Korea. The highest-ranking administration official to visit Pyongyang, Kelly reiterated U.S. concerns about DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, export of missile components, conventional force posture, human rights violations, and humanitarian situation. Kelly informed DPRK that it could improve bilateral relations through a “comprehensive settlement” addressing these issues. No future meetings were announced.

Referring to Kelly’s approach as “high handed and arrogant,” Pyongyang argued that the U.S. policy “compels the DPRK to take all necessary countermeasures, pursuant to the army-based policy whose validity has been proven.”

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

October 16, DPRK ‘admits’ conducting covert highly-enriched-uranium program in pursuit of nuclear weapons

The DPRK’s international relations deteriorated after comments by the United States in October 2002 that North Korean officials had admitted DPRK was conducting a covert highly-enriched-uranium program in pursuit of nuclear weapons. The comments followed the October 3-5 visit to DPRK by James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs, during which he confronted DPRK officials about their country’s clandestine uranium enrichment activities. Kelly later explained that the DPRK admission came the day after he informed them that the United States was aware of the program. DPRK has denied several times that it admitted to having this program.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated that “North Korea’s secret nuclear weapons program is a serious violation of North Korea’s commitments under the Agreed Framework as well as under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement, and the Joint North-South Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Boucher also said that the United States wants DPRK to comply with its nonproliferation commitments and seeks “a peaceful resolution of this situation.”

[Sources: DFAT and The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

November 5, DPRK North Korea threatens to end its moratorium on ballistic missile tests

DPRK threatens to end its moratorium on ballistic missile tests if DPRK-Japan normalisation talks do not achieve progress.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

November 14, KEDO suspends heavy-fuel oil deliveries to DPRK in response to its uranium-enrichment program

KEDO announces that it is suspending heavy-fuel oil deliveries to DPRK in response to Pyongyang’s October 4 acknowledgement (see October 16 entry) that it has a uranium-enrichment program. The last shipment reached DPRK on November 18.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

November 25, Australia suspends bilateral aid to DPRK

Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, announces that Australia’s bilateral development assistance program to DPRK has been suspended due to concerns about DPRK’s nuclear weapons program.

[Source: DFAT]

Humanitarian impact: Australia’s aid to DPRK became limited to humanitarian assistance provided through the UN World Food Programme and other international agencies.

November 29, IAEA adopts a resolution calling upon DPRK to “clarify” its “reported uranium-enrichment program.”

The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) adopted a resolution calling upon DPRK to “clarify” its “reported uranium-enrichment program.” DPRK rejected the resolution, saying the IAEA’s position is biased in favor of the United States.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 9, Spanish and U.S. forces intercept and search a ship carrying a shipment of DPRK Scud missiles

Spanish and U.S. forces intercepted and searched a ship carrying a shipment of North Korean Scud missiles and related cargo to Yemen. The United States allowed the shipment to be delivered because it lacked the necessary legal authority to seize the cargo. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Washington had intelligence that the ship was carrying missiles to the Middle East and was concerned that its ultimate destination might have been Iraq.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 12, DPRK formally tells IAEA it is restarting its one functional reactor and is reopening other nuclear facilities

DPRK sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) announcing that it is restarting its one functional reactor and is reopening the other nuclear facilities frozen under the Agreed Framework. The letter requested that the IAEA remove the seals and monitoring equipment from its nuclear facilities. A DPRK spokesman blamed the United States for violating the Agreed Framework and said that the purpose of restarting the reactor is to generate electricity-an assertion disputed by U.S. officials.

A November 27 Congressional Research Service report stated that the reactor could annually produce enough plutonium for one bomb. The CIA stated in a 2002 report to Congress that the spent-fuel rods “contain enough plutonium for several more [nuclear] weapons.”

U.S. estimates on North Korea’s current nuclear status differ. A State Department official said January 3, 2003 that the U.S. intelligence community believes DPRK already possesses one or two nuclear weapons made from plutonium produced before the negotiation of the Agreed Framework. The CIA publicly estimates that Pyongyang “has produced enough plutonium” for one or two weapons.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 14, DPRK announces that the status of its nuclear facilities is a matter between the United States and DPRK, not with the IAEA

DPRK stated in a letter to the IAEA that the status of its nuclear facilities is a matter between the United States and North Korea and “not pursuant to any agreement” with the IAEA. The letter further declared that DPRK will take unilateral action to remove seals and monitoring cameras if the IAEA does not act.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 22-24, DPRK removes IAEA surveillance equipment from its Yongbyon nuclear facilities

The DPRK cut all seals and disrupted/removed (IAEA) surveillance equipment from its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, and announced its intentions to re-start its nuclear program to provide itself with a deterrent force in the face of the United States’ “hostile policy”.

An IAEA spokesman said December 26 that DPRK started moving fresh fuel rods into the Yongbyon reactor, suggesting that it might be restarted soon.

[Source: DFAT, IAEA and The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

December 27, DPRK orders IAEA inspectors out of the country

DPRK orders IAEA inspectors out of the country. They leave on December 31.

[Source: The Situation in the Korean Peninsula, United Nations Security Council Study Guide]

2003

January 10, DPRK announces its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Pyongyang announced it is withdrawing from the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Under the treaty, North Korea was barred from making nuclear weapons, but said it was pulling out of it today with immediate effect, blaming U.S. aggression for its decision.

The DPRK justified its withdrawal from the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, in a lengthy statement on 21 January.

[Sources: The Guardian and DFAT]

2004

February 9, Japan amends legislation to give it power to impose unilateral sanctions on a country

The Japanese parliament passed a key amendment to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. The revised Act empowered the Japanese government to impose unilateral economic sanctions on a country (like DPRK) without requiring a UN resolution or an international agreement mandating such actions. Under the new legislation, the Japanese government can ban cash remittances, restrict trade, freeze assets in Japan and take other means deemed necessary against a country that poses a threat to Japan’s peace and security.

The new measures were clearly aimed at DPRK and it responded in its own media with expected fury and condemnation KCNA 4 February and KCNA 20 February.

This was followed in June by a Bill to Ban Port Entry of Specific Ships which was passed in the Diet. This allowed the Cabinet to deny port entry of vessels from a particular country if it is deemed necessary for maintaining Japan’s peace and security.

[Source: North Korea: The Politics of Regime Survival by Young W. Kihl and Hong Nack Kim]

June 14, Japan passes legislation to ban port calls of specified vessels

Legislation to ban port entry of specified vessels was passed into law. This was designed to ban port calls by vessels from certain unfriendly countries for a limited period of time if the Cabinet determined such action necessary to maintain Japan’s peace and security.

[Source: Social Science Research Council (SSRC) – ssrc.org]

2005

NO ENTRIES FOR THIS YEAR

2006

July 5, DPRK launches seven missiles into waters between Korean Peninsula and Japan

The DPRK launched seven missiles into waters between Korean Peninsula and Japan, including long-range Taepodong-2 multi-stage rocket.

[Source: The Telegraph]

July 5, Japan imposes limited autonomous sanctions in response to missile launches

Tokyo banned DPRK Ro-Ro ferry Mangyongbong-92 from Japanese waters for six months after DPRK test-fired seven missiles into the sea between the countries.

A further factor behind the imposition of this sanction was the suspicion that the ferry was being used as a conduit for a trade in electronics obtained from retail sources in Japan but ultimately used for military purposes in DPRK, as well as a smuggling route for amphetamines and counterfeit cash.

[Sources: Washington Times and Sydney Morning Herald]

July 6, South Korea suspends food aid to DPRK

South Korea said it is to suspend food aid to the North because of its controversial missile tests. Shipments of rice and fertiliser would be shelved until the missile “problem” was resolved, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a top official as saying. However it will continue engaging the North through economic projects, including the Kaesong industrial complex (KIC) which will remain open.

[Source: BBC News and Financial Times]

July 7, Sanctions resolution drafted by Japan rejected by China, Russia

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) prepared to meet for a second day to discuss the missile issue, with China and Russia opposing a resolution drafted by Japan and backed by the United States that called for sanctions against North Korea.

[Source: New York Times]

July 15, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 1695 against DPRK

UNSCR 1695 condemned the missile test launches carried out by DPRK on July 5, 2006. The wording and strength of the statement was a compromise between the United States, Japan, and France, who favoured a strong statement and sanctions, and the People’s Republic of China and Russia who favoured a less severe statement. The final resolution did not have the force of later UNSC sanctions resolutions because it did not invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. This was the key part of the compromise agreed with China and Russia. The resulting document was a weaker version of the resolution originally submitted by Japan and sponsored by the United States and which was rejected by the UN Security Council on July 7. Agreement on the text of UNSCR 1695 was built on reminders of earlier UNSC resolutions. In particular, UNSCR 1695 recalled resolutions 825 (1993) and 1540 (2004) concerning DPRK and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction respectively.

The final, unanimously, agreed version of UNSCR 1695 banned all UN member states from selling material or technology for missiles or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to DPRK, and from receiving missiles, banned weapons or technology from Pyongyang. It also called on DPRK to rejoin the six-party talks and refrain from conducting further missile and its threatened nuclear tests.

[Main Source: Wikipedia]

September 19, Australia imposes an autonomous sanctions regime

The Australian Government announced an autonomous sanctions regime in September 2006 in response to Australia’s concerns about the nature of DPRK’s nuclear, weapons of mass destruction and proliferation programs. Note that Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime was imposed some weeks before DPRK’s announcement of the test of its first nuclear device on October 8. Bilateral aid had already been suspended since 2002.

The original autonomous sanctions regime involved targeted financial sanctions implemented by the Reserve Bank of Australia. They were announced in the Commonwealth of Australia Special Gazette S176 of 19 September 2006. The gazetted notice imposed restrictions on foreign exchange transactions with 12 named entities and 1 individual, not all of which were located in DPRK.

[Source: Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (2009 Press Release)]

October 9, North Koreans say they tested nuclear device

The DPRK announced that it had set off its first nuclear test.

[Source: The New York Times]

October 10, Australia imposes additional autonomous sanctions

Australia imposed additional autonomous sanctions in response to DPRK’s nuclear test, including:

  • a visa ban on all DPRK citizens;
  • a ban on port entry by DPRK-flagged vessels; and
  • financial sanctions on a further nine DPRK companies.

[Source: DFAT and Nautilus Institute]

Humanitarian impact: Immediate. Australia suspended technical assistance programs that were set up after re-establishment of diplomatic relations with DPRK in 2000:

  • The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research had been training North Koreans in soil and pest management, crop production and biotechnology related to rice production;
  • The Australian National University (ANU) was training North Koreans in market economics through a UN Development Program funded Masters in Economics of Development course at the National Centre for Development Studies (NCDS);
  • Australia was helping DPRK statisticians so that the nutritional needs of North Koreans can be identified.

October 11, Japan unilaterally imposes fresh sanctions on North Korea

An angry Tokyo unilaterally imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on shipping, as Pyongyang warned it would consider U.S. pressure “a declaration of war”.

It appeared that Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was unwilling to wait for the UN security council, and announced a total trade ban on North Korea. All its ships will be denied entry to Japanese ports. According to The Guardian, as he spoke, about two dozen North Korean ships lay idle in Japanese ports yesterday with no dockers to unload them.

Other measures announced by Tokyo included a ban on the entry of North Koreans, other than those with residential status. Tokyo imposed limited sanctions in July after Pyongyang test-fired missiles over the Sea of Japan/East Sea. This included a ban on entry to Japanese ports of DPRK Ro-Ro ferry Mangyongbong-92. The new sanctions make this earlier temporary ban on the ferry permanent.

[Main Source: The Guardian]

October 14, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 1718 against DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1718 in the wake of the DPRK’s 9 October 2006 nuclear test – its first. The blast had an estimated explosive force of less than one kiloton and some radioactive output was detected. Many experts suggested the device may have partially misfired.

The resolution’s principal provisions prohibits the DPRK from conducting future nuclear tests or launching a ballistic missile. It called for the country to suspend its ballistic missile programme and to completely abandon efforts to produce a nuclear weapon.

Operative paragraph (OP) 8 of the resolution includes a range of sanctions designed to prevent the DPRK from continuing to develop these programs by requiring all UN Member States to:

  • OP 8(a)(i) – prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of large-scale weapons including battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems;
  • OP 8(a)(ii) – prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology, determined by the Security Council or the Security Council 1718 Committee, which could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes;
  • OP 8(a)(iii) – prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of luxury goods;
  • OP 8(b) – cease the export of all items covered in sub-paragraphs (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from the DPRK by their nationals;
  • OP 8(c) – prevent any transfers to/from the DPRK of technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items in sub-paragraphs (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above;
  • OP 8(d) – freeze the assets of persons and entities involved in the DPRK’s WMD programmes;
  • OP 8(e) – impose a travel ban on persons (and their family members) involved in any way with the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related and other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes;
  • OP 8(f) – ensure compliance with the requirements of this paragraph, in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, by preventing illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, their means of delivery and related materials into the country through inspection of cargo to/from the DPRK and by other means, as necessary.

Particularly in respect of OP 8(f), the Arms Control Association notes that “not all states supported this and China, an ally of North Korea, did not inspect cargo to and from the country and continued to support the North Korean regime.”

Operative paragraph 10 of UNSCR 1718 is the first occurrence of the “huanitarian need” exemption that has been included in all subsequent DPRK sanctions resolutions. In the case of UNSCR 1718 it states that the travel ban measures imposed by operative paragraph 8(e) above shall not apply where the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that such travel is justified on the grounds of humanitarian need, including religious obligations, or where the 1718 Sanctions Committee concludes that an exemption would otherwise further the objectives of the present resolution.

Operative paragraph 11 of UNSCR 1718 requests all Member States to report to the Security Council within thirty days [our emphasis] of the adoption of the resolution on the steps they have taken with a view to implementing effectively the provisions of operative paragraph 8 above. These are known as National Implementation Reports and later Security Council Resolutions make similar requests. However the majority of UN Member States have ignored these requests or complied only when forced to do so by, for example, becoming one of the ten non-permanent members of the Security Council elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.

Operative paragraph 12 of UNSCR 1718 created an important Committee of the Security Council in accordance with rule 28 of its provisional rules of procedure. It is formally called the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) but is more commonly referred to within this timeline and elsewhere as the the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee or sometimes the Security Council DPRK Sanctions Committee.

It consists of all the members of the Security Council and undertakes the following tasks:

  1. To seek from all States, in particular those producing or possessing the items, materials, equipment, goods and technology referred to in paragraph 8(a) above, information regarding the actions taken by them to implement effectively the measures imposed by operative paragraph 8 above of the resolution and whatever further information it may consider useful in this regard;
  2. To examine and take appropriate action on information regarding alleged violations of measures imposed by operative paragraph 8 of the resolution;
  3. To consider and decide upon requests for exemptions set out in operative paragraphs 9 and 10;
  4. To determine additional items, materials, equipment, goods and technology to be specified for the purpose of operative paragraphs 8(a)(i) and 8(a)(ii) above;
  5. To designate additional individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed by operative paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) above;
  6. To promulgate guidelines as may be necessary to facilitate the implementation of the measures imposed by the resolution;
  7. To report at least every 90 days to the Security Council on its work, with its observations and recommendations, in particular on ways to strengthen the effectiveness of the measures imposed by operative paragraph 8 above.

The 1718 Sanctions Committee publishes its latest cumulative list of National Implementation Reports here. It is a useful resource that contains all National Implementation Reports submitted by UN Member States since 2006. There are links to each report as a PDF file.

[Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and Arms Control Association]

October 25, Switzerland imposes sanctions on DPRK, fully implementing UNSC Resolution 1718

On 25 October 2006, the Federal Council of Switzerland approved the Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which implemented UN Security Council Resolution 1718.

Editor’s Note: This ordinance has since been amended on several occasions so as to tighten sanctions against DPRK. Each set of amendments fully implemented subsequent UN Security Council Resolutions, namely 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013) and 2094 (2013). With its decision on May 18, 2016, the Federal Council also fully implemented UN Security Council Resolution 2270 (2016). As a result of the numerous amendments required, the current ordinance (as of May, 2016) is to be completely revised.

[Source: Portal of the Swiss government]

November 20, Council of the European Union adopts common position on restrictive measures against DPRK

Common Position 2006/795/CFSP provides for the implementation of the restrictive measures set out in UN Resolution 1718 (2006):

  • a ban on exports of goods and technology which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destruction-related or ballistic missile-related programmes, and on the provision of related services
  • a ban on procurement of goods and technology from DPRK
  • a ban on exports of luxury goods to DPRK
  • the freezing of funds and economic resources of persons, entities and bodies engaged in, or providing support for, the above DPRK programmes.

See March 27, 2007 for EU Council Regulation 329/2007 that gave force to these restrictive measures.

[Source: EUR-Lex]

December 16, United Kingdom imposes sanctions on DPRK, implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1718

As noted above, the UN measures had already been reflected within the European Union in a Common Position agreed in November. An European Council Regulation legislating for the restrictive measures to be applied by EU countries was being finalised (see entry for 27 March 2007).

The range of sanctions set out in UNSCR 1718 involved a number of pieces of UK legislation for their implementation into domestic law. In addition, the sanctions had to be given effect in both the UK and its Overseas Territories. To achieve all of this, secondary legislation in the form of a number of Statutory Instruments (S.I.) had to be presented to Parliament.

A start was made on 15 November 2006 when the The North Korea (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 was laid before Parliament [this S.I., 2006/2958, came into force the following day, 16 December 2006]. This Order was made under the United Nations Act 1946 and gave effect to the asset freeze in the UK, where the existing export controls operate to prevent the supply of sensitive goods and technologies.

Within the UK itself, the travel ban was given effect under the Immigration Act 1971 by the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2006 laid before Parliament on 12 December 2006 [this S.I., 2006/3277, came into force 13 December 2006] while in the Overseas Territories, the travel ban was given effect under existing Overseas Territories’ immigration legislation.

Enforcing the other UN measures in the Overseas Territories required a separate order, The North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2006 which was laid before Parliament on 15 December 2006 [this S.I., 2006/3327, came into force 16 December 2006]. This was also made under the United Nations Act 1946. This Order backed up the prohibitions listed in the Common Position with criminal penalties and investigative powers.

[Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and legislative.gov.uk]

2007

March 27, European Council Regulation 329/2007 binds all EU states to implement in full the agreed restrictive measures against DPRK

Common Position 2006/795/CFSP of November 20, 2006, provided for the implementation of the restrictive measures against DPRK set out in UNSC Resolution 1718 (2006). European Council Regulation 329/2007, dated 27 March, was gazetted in the Official Journal of the European Union (the OJ) on this day thus becoming a binding legislative act that required the restrictive measures agreed in the Common position to be applied in their entirety by all countries in the EU.

Some EU Member States had already begun implementing the Common Position in their domestic law by this time. The UK, for example, had given effect to its main provisions by December 16, 2006 and fully implemented it in domestic law on April 27, 2007.

[Source: EUR-Lex]

April 27, United Kingdom completes the implementation of European Council Regulation 329/2007 in its domestic law

So as to give full effect to the UK’s European and other international obligations in respect of North Korea, the Export Control (North Korea) Order 2007 was laid before Parliament on April, 26, 2007 [this S.I., 2007/1334, came into force April 27, 2007]. It supplemented the three earlier Statutory Instruments, S.I. 2006/3277, S.I. 2006/3327 and S.I. 2006/2958 (see December 26 entry above). This latest Order created licensing and offences provisions needed to make European Council Regulation 329/2007 fully effective in the UK.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

May 4, United Kingdom clarifies the definition and treatment of “luxury goods” banned by UNSC Resolution 1718

The measures in UN Security Council Resolution 1718 included a ban on the supply of luxury goods to DPRK but the resolution did not provide a definition of such goods. The European Council Regulation (EC) No. 329/2007, which gave effect to the UN resolution in all EU countries, remedied this and incorporated a list of luxury goods. This list was replicated as Schedule 4 in the North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2006 [S.I. 2006/3327] which came into force in the UK on December 16, 2006

In order to deal with certain imprecise definitions in the list of luxury goods defined in (EC) No. 329/2007, and replicated in UK law in S.I. 2006/3327, an amending order to the latter was laid before Parliament on May 3, 2007. This clarified the definition and treatment of “luxury goods” in the UK and its Overseas Territories. The amending order, North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories)(Amendment) Order 2007 [S.I. 2007/1347], came into force in the UK and its Overseas Territories on May 4, 2007.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

December 12, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The UK complies with UN Security Council Resolutions or instruments of the Council of the European Union that impose restrictive travel measures by including them in the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000. This Order is made under Section 8B(7) of the Immigration Act 1971. Section 8B provides for the exclusion from the United Kingdom of persons subject to United Nations’ or European Union restrictive travel measures which have been designated by Order. The Schedule to the 2000 Order which lists the relevant UN and EU travel bans is regularly updated.

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2007 [S.I. 2007/3440] was laid before Parliament on December 10, 2007 and came into force on December 12, 2007. This ammending Order updated the Schedule to the 2000 Order [which was last substituted by the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/3277), now revoked]. Among the many UN and EU travel bans added to the Schedule were:

  • Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations:
    • UN Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006) of 14th October 2006 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
  • Instruments made by the Council of the European Union:
    • Common Position 2006/795/CFSP of 20th November 2006 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)

The effect of including these travel bans in the Order is that, unless subject to one of the exemptions set out in Article 3 of the 2000 Order, a person named by or described in a designated travel ban is an excluded person and must be refused leave to enter or remain in the UK, including transit through the UK. Any existing leave is automatically cancelled, and any exemption from immigration control e.g. as a diplomat, ceases.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2008

June 26, U.S. President issues E.O. 13466 declaring national emergency over threat constituted by weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula

President George W. Bush issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13466, declaring a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the existence and risk of the proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula. The E.O. was issued under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the National Emergencies Act (the NEA).

The signing of this E.O. was a significant event for the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in relation to DPRK as it began OFAC’s current North Korea sanctions programme. The E.O. continued certain restrictions with respect to DPRK that previously had been imposed under the authority of the Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA). This included restrictions on registering vessels in DPRK or operating a North Korean flagged vessel. At the same time, the President signed Proclamation 8271, terminating the application of TWEA authorities with respect to DPRK.

Editor’s Note: Since 2008, President Obama then President Trump have issued subsequent Executive Orders (see 13551, 13570, 13687, 13722 and 13810) expanding the 2008 national emergency and taking additional steps with respect to that emergency, including blocking the property of certain persons (individuals and entities) and prohibiting certain types of transactions. For an official commentary on those amendments except E.O. 13810 (which was signed by Donald Trump), see President Obama’s Notice – Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to North Korea.

[Source: OFAC North Korea Sanctions Program]

December 17, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2008 [S.I. 2008/3052] was laid before Parliament on November 26, 2008 and came into force on December 17, 2008. This ammending Order included the same UN and EU travel bans against excluded persons from DPRK applied in the previous update – see entry for December 12, 2007.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2009

April 4, DPRK defies international warning and carries out controversial rocket launch putting a satellite into orbit

The DPRK defied international warnings and went ahead with a controversial rocket launch. The U.S., Japan and South Korea suspect the launch was a cover for a long-range missile test.

The DPRK said the launch is part of what it calls peaceful space development. “Our scientists and engineers have succeeded in sending satellite ‘Kwangmyongsong-2’ into orbit by way of carrier rocket ‘Unha-2’,” state news agency KCNA reported. It added that it was transmitting data and the “Song of General Kim Il-sung” and “Song of General Kim Jong-il.”

Washington, Tokyo and Seoul regarded the launch as a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1718 adopted in October 2006, which bans North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile activity.

[Source: BBC]

April 6, United Kingdom updates export control orders for sanctioned countries, including DPRK

The Export Control Order 2008 [S.I. 2008/3251] is an instrument that essentially consolidated Orders made under the Export Control Act 2002. It revoked a number of earlier Orders, as well as parts of the Export Control (North Korea) Order 2007 [S.I. 2007/1334] – see entry for April 27, 2007. It was laid before Parliament on December 17, 2008 and came into force on April 6, 2009.

The Order is a long and very detailed document with multiple parts, running to 58 pages. The two countries subject to its strictest export and trade controls are Iran and DPRK. This Order is now where penalty and licensing provisions are to be found relating to European Council Regulation (EC) No 1334/2000 (the “dual-use Regulation”) and European Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 (the “torture Regulation”). These cover, respectively, goods, software and technology that can be used for both civil and military purposes and goods that can be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

April 30, United Kingdom updates penalties and offences provisions in Overseas Territories for breaches of UN and EU sanctions

The Judicial Proceedings in Specified Overseas Territories (Restrictive Measures) Order 2009 [S.I. 2009/888] was laid before Parliament on April 9, 2009 and came into force on April 30, 2009.

This Order amended certain Orders applying to the Overseas Territories relating to sanction measures adopted by the United Nations and the European Union, and related Orders made under the Export Control Act 2002 applying to the Territories. The penalties and offences provisions of the Orders are modified by this Order. The effect of the modifications is to make available to the judicial authorities in these territories, the higher penalties applicable to conviction on indictment when sentencing.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

May 25, DPRK tests nuclear weapon ‘as powerful as Hiroshima bomb’

This was its second test of a nuclear weapon. North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a nuclear weapon as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The test comes less than two months after the North enraged the U.S. and its allies by test firing a long-range ballistic missile.

[Source: The Guardian]

June 12, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 1874, strengthens sanctions on DPRK

Resolution 1874 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council and imposed further sanctions on DPRK for continuing to develop its nuclear program “in violation and flagrant disregard of its relevant resolutions”, particularly 1695 (2006) and 1718 (2006).

Its principal provisons tightened previous measures against weapons development by DPRK. Those provisions included:

  • Strengthening the arms embargo by (i) banning import-export of all weapons (except small arms) and calling on states to inspect, seize and dispose of the items, and (ii) denying fuel or supplies to service the vessels carrying them. A state must notify the Security Council before selling arms to DPRK;
  • Calls for inspection of cargo and vessels, requesting Member States to inspect and destroy all banned cargo to and from that country, whether on the high seas or at ports and airports, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a violation;
  • To support the inspection of cargos, giving interdiction authority and calling on all States to cooperate with those inspections, and, if the flag State did not consent to inspection on the high seas, decided that that State should direct the vessel to proceed to an appropriate and convenient port for the required inspection by the local authorities;
  • Tightened the asset freeze and travel ban imposed in resolution 1718 (2006). Financial assistance to the regime was limited. Financial transfers that could be used to aid DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction-related (WMD) programmes or activities were prohibited. Member states were also not allowed to enter into loans with the country unless for explicitly humanitarian purposes.

The Security Council again called upon DPRK to return to negotiating, especially through the Six Party talks with South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. The resolution also called for DPRK to rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

[Main source: Arms Control Association]

June 17, Japan strengthens sanctions on DPRK following latest nuclear and missile tests

The Japanese government announced that it would be imposing a blanket ban on trade with DPRK in response to its recent nuclear and missile tests. Exports to North Korea are now prohibited until April 2010, adding to the existing sanctions on imports already in place in Japan.

Japan’s top exports were machinery and transport equipment, such as trains and vehicles, as well as some food products, electronics and other industrial goods, according to Japna’s finance ministry.

Analysts saw Japan’s latest sanctions as largely symbolic because DPRK conducts the bulk of its trade with China.

[Main source: News24]

July 10, United Kingdom gives effect to UNSC Resolution 1874 at home and in its overseas territories

The North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2009 [S.I. 2009/1749], made under the United Nations Act 1946, gives effect to UN sanctions against DPRK under resolution 1874 (2009) of the Security Council.

The Order was laid before Parliament on July 9, 2009 and came into force the next day, July 10. It supplemented existing trade controls by prohibiting the carriage of military goods to DPRK using UK flag vessels or aircraft, the procurement of military goods from DPRK, the carriage of such goods from DPRK using UK flag vessels or aircraft, and the supply of services to North Korean ships in specified circumstances.

The North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2009 [S.I. 2009/1746] was laid before Parliament on the same day as S.I. 2009/1749 above and came into force at the same time too. The Order made under the United Nations Act 1946 amends the North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/3327, as amended by S.I. 2007/1347 and S.I. 2009/888). The amendments are to give effect at home and in Overseas territories to measures introduced by resolution 1874 (2009) adopted by the United Nations Security Council on the 12th June 2009 and certain aspects of its previous resolution 1718 (2006).

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

December 11, United Kingdom enhances its powers of law enforcement in relation to the maritime interdiction of UK flag vessels

The North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2009 [S.I. 2009/3213] was laid before Parliament on December 10, 2009 and came into force the next day, December 11. This Order, made under the United Nations Act 1946, amended the North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/1749) to give further effect to United Nations sanctions against the DPRK under resolution 1874 (2009) of the Security Council. It provided enhanced powers of law enforcement in relation to the maritime interdiction of UK flag vessels.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

December 11, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The UK complies with UN Security Council Resolutions or instruments of the Council of the European Union that impose restrictive travel measures by including them in the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000. This Order is made under Section 8B(7) of the Immigration Act 1971. Section 8B provides for the exclusion from the United Kingdom of persons subject to United Nations’ or European Union restrictive travel measures which have been designated by Order. The Schedule to the 2000 Order which lists the relevant UN and EU travel bans is regularly updated.

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2009 [S.I. 2009/3044] was laid before Parliament on November 20, 2009 and came into force on December 11, 2009. This ammending Order updated the Schedule to the 2000 Order [which was last substituted by the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/3052), now revoked]. Among the UN and EU travel bans added to the Schedule were:

  • Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations:
    • UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009) of 12 June 2009 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
  • Instruments made by the Council of the European Union:
    • Common Position 2006/795/CFSP of 20 November 2006 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) as amended by Common Position 2009/573/CFSP of 27 July 2009 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)

The effect of including these travel bans in the Order is that, unless subject to one of the exemptions set out in Article 3 of the 2000 Order, a person named by or described in a designated travel ban is an excluded person and must be refused leave to enter or remain in the UK, including transit through the UK. Any existing leave is automatically cancelled, and any exemption from immigration control e.g. as a diplomat, ceases.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2010

January 28, United Kingdom amends 2007 Export Control Order to increase the scope of existing export restrictions, particularly in respect of dual-use items

The Export Control (North Korea) (Amendment) Order 2010 [S.I. 2010/132] was laid before Parliament on 27 January, 2010, and came into force the next day, January 28. It amends the Export Control (North Korea) Order 2007 because of changes to the EU legislation imposing sanctions on North Korea. The changes increase the scope of the existing restrictions (they now extend to all dual-use items listed in the dual-use Regulation and also to other sensitive items) and to impose new restrictions on obtaining technical and financial assistance from North Korea.

As an indication of the complexity of legislating sanctions in the UK, this ammending Order also deals with potential overlap with another sanctions Order that directly implements an UNSCR resolution, rather than subsequent EU regulations based on that resolution. The North Korea (United Nations) Sanctions Order 2009 (“the UN Order”) contains offences which could overlap with certain offences under Export Control (North Korea) Order 2007. Thus new sub-paragraph 4(6) to the latter provides that, where a person would be guilty of corresponding offences under both regimes, he is guilty only of the offence(s) under the UN Order.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

August 30, U.S. President issues E.O. 13551 expanding the scope of the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and blocking property of certain persons with respect to DPRK

President Barack Obama issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13551 under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (NEA), and the United Nations Participation Act (the UNPA), expanding the scope of the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and providing for the blocking of property and interests in property of certain persons with respect to DPRK.

The E.O was prompted by a long list of recent policies and actions of the DPRK Government that includes the unprovoked attack that resulted in the sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy ship Cheonan and the deaths of 46 sailors in March 2010; its announced test of a nuclear device and its missile launches in 2009; its actions in violation of UNSCRs 1718 and 1874, including the procurement of luxury goods; and its illicit and deceptive activities in international markets through which it obtains financial and other support, including money laundering, the counterfeiting of goods and currency, bulk cash smuggling, and narcotics trafficking, destabilize the Korean peninsula and imperil U.S. Armed Forces, allies, and trading partners in the region, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.

[Source: OFAC North Korea Sanctions Program]

December 20, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The UK complies with UN Security Council Resolutions or instruments of the Council of the European Union that impose restrictive travel measures by including them in the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000. This Order is made under Section 8B(7) of the Immigration Act 1971. Section 8B provides for the exclusion from the United Kingdom of persons subject to United Nations’ or European Union restrictive travel measures which have been designated by Order. The Schedule to the 2000 Order which lists the relevant UN and EU travel bans is regularly updated.

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2010 [S.I. 2010/2813] was laid before Parliament on November 29, 2010 and came into force on December 20, 2010. This ammending Order updated the Schedule to the 2000 Order [which was last substituted by the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/3044), now revoked]. Among the UN and EU travel bans added to the Schedule were:

  • Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations:
    • UN Security Council Resolution 1928 (2010) of 7 June 2010 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)
  • Instruments made by the Council of the European Union:
    • Common Position 2006/795/CFSP of 20 November 2006 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) as amended by Common Position 2009/573/CFSP of 27 July 2009 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and as amended by Council Decision 2009/1002/CFSP of 22 December 2009 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)

The effect of including these travel bans in the Order is that, unless subject to one of the exemptions set out in Article 3 of the 2000 Order, a person named by or described in a designated travel ban is an excluded person and must be refused leave to enter or remain in the UK, including transit through the UK. Any existing leave is automatically cancelled, and any exemption from immigration control e.g. as a diplomat, ceases.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2011

April 18, U.S. President issues E.O. 13570 expanding the scope of the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466, prohibiting certain transactions with respect to DPRK

President Barack Obama issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13570 under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (NEA), and the United Nations Participation Act (the UNPA), to take additional steps to address the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and expanded in E.O. 13551. E.O. 13570 was issued to ensure implementation of the import restrictions contained in United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1718 of October 14, 2006, and UNSCR 1874 of June 12, 2009, and to complement the import restrictions provided for in the Arms Export Control Act.

[Source: OFAC North Korea Sanctions Program]

June 13, United Kingdom includes an additional list of goods and technology subject to ban on export and import

The Export Control (Eritrea and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2011 [S.I. 2011/1296] makes a technical amendment to the Export Control (North Korea) Order 2007 in order to implement the further amendment to Council Regulation (EC) No 329/2007 made by Council Regulation (EU) No 567/2010. The latter includes an additional list of goods and technology subject to ban on exports and imports (other than luxury goods).

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

November 9, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The UK complies with UN Security Council Resolutions or instruments of the Council of the European Union that impose restrictive travel measures by including them in the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000. This Order is made under Section 8B(7) of the Immigration Act 1971. Section 8B provides for the exclusion from the United Kingdom of persons subject to United Nations’ or European Union restrictive travel measures which have been designated by Order. The Schedule to the 2000 Order which lists the relevant UN and EU travel bans is regularly updated.

The The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment No.6) Order 2011 [S.I. 2011/2489] was laid before Parliament on October 19, 2011 and came into force on November 9, 2011. This ammending Order updated the Schedule to the 2000 Order [which was last substituted by the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2010 (S.I. 2010/2813), now revoked]. Among the UN and EU travel bans added to the Schedule were:

  • Instruments made by the Council of the European Union:
    • Council Decision 2010/800/CFSP of 22 December 2010 (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) which identified additional persons and entities that should be subject to restrictive measures.

The effect of including these travel bans in the Order is that, unless subject to one of the exemptions set out in Article 3 of the 2000 Order, a person named by or described in a designated travel ban is an excluded person and must be refused leave to enter or remain in the UK, including transit through the UK. Any existing leave is automatically cancelled, and any exemption from immigration control e.g. as a diplomat, ceases.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2012

March 8, United Kingdom makes minor technical change to sanctions measures in certain Overseas Territories

The Restrictive Measures (Amendment) (Overseas Territories) Order 2012 [S.I. 2012/362] was laid before Parliament on February 16 and came into force on March 8. This technical measure amended a number of statutory instruments that deal with restrictive measures, including against the DPRK, to reflect the change of name of the territory of St Helena and Dependencies to St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha that was made by the St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Constitution Order 2009.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

April 13, Failed launch of Unha-3 rocket attempting to put a satellite into orbit

North Korea says the aim of the launch was to put a satellite into orbit – a move marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung.

The launch of the 3-stage Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket drew international condemnation with the U.S. and other nations saying the launch constituted a disguised test of long-range missile technology banned under UN resolutions. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the launch deplorable.

[Source: BBC News]

June 8, Japan shows willingness to apply administrative sanctions, in the form of an export ban, pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act

Under its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) can apply administrative sanctions to ban exports that are in violation of the Act. Since November 15, 2006, export of luxury goods to North Korea have been banned in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718. Export via a third party is also banned.

The export of luxury goods to North Korea requires permission from the Minister of METI under the Act. As an example of these administrative sanctions in operation, METI issued a notice against a Japanese individual and an entity which said, inter alia, that:

“Without obtaining relevant permission, Kim Ju Sop, also known as Norihiko Kanai, who is the representative director of Kanai Co., Ltd. (Fukuoka), exported luxury goods (10,000 cigarettes and 12 bottles of Japanese sake) to Dalian, China, in December 2008 for the purpose of export to North Korea via Dalian.”

  • All goods banned from export to all regions;
  • Export ban period to be from June 14, 2012, to August 13, 2012 (two months).

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

June 8, Japan applies more administrative sanctions (export bans) pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act

An individual/entity sanctioned for exporting “knit products” to the DPRK via PRC. Received a 7 months export ban.

There are a number of similar timeline entries for Japan – see entry above for more detail and background to the use by Japan of administrative sanctions.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

June 26, Japan applies more administrative sanctions (export bans) pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act

An individual/entity sanctioned for exporting “second-hand Mercedes-Benz vehicles” to the DPRK via South Korea. Received a 5 months export ban.

There are a number of similar timeline entries for Japan – see entry above for more detail and background to the use by Japan of administrative sanctions.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

July 3, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment)
Order 2012
[S.I. 2012/1663] was laid before Parliament on June 29 and came into force July 3. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724] and revoked the previous Ammendment Orders the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment No.6) Order 2011 [S.I. 2011/2489] and the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment No.7) Order 2011 [S.I. 2011/2930]. This last Order did not apply to the DPRK.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

August 1, United Kingdom makes minor technical changes to sanctions measures arising from Treaty of Lisbon

The Treaty of Lisbon (Changes in Terminology or Numbering) Order 2012 [S.I. 2012/1809] makes technical amendments to primary and secondary legislation, including sanctions measures against the DPRK, to reflect changes in terminology and numbering relating to the European Union treaties arising from the Treaty of Lisbon.

Along with all the other UK Statutory Instruments in this timeline directly related to sanctions against the DPRK, this entry is included to demonstrate the complexity of maintaining legislative measures for the imposition of sanctions against the DPRK.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

December 12, DPRK rocket launch: satellite successfully sent into orbit

The launch of the three-stage Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket, “similar in design to a model capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as California” (The Guardian).The launch was a clear violation of UN sanctions set out in resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009) that prohibited any further development of technology applicable to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic weapons programmes.

It followed the unsuccessful launch of another Unha-3 launch in April.

<

p style=”text-align:left;”>[Sources: Wired Magazine and The Guardian]

2013

January 9, United Kingdom updates sanctions measures in its Overseas Territories

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2012 [S.I. 2012/3066] was laid before Parliament on December 12, 2012 and came into force on January 9, 2013.

This Order gave effect in specified Overseas Territories to sanctions in respect of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) adopted by the United Nations Security Council in resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). The Order also reflected the implementation of these sanctions by the European Union in Council Decision 2010/800 CFSP (as amended) and Council Regulation (EU) 329/2007 (as amended). This Order revoked and replaced the North Korea (United Nations Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2006 [S.I. 2006/3327].
Overseas Territories:

  • Anguilla
  • British Antarctic Territory
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Cayman Islands
  • Falkland Islands
  • Montserrat
  • Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
  • St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia in the Island of Cyprus
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Virgin Islands

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

January 22, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2087 in response to satellite launch by the DPRK

Resolution 2087 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council after a successful North Korea satellite launch which used ballistic missile technology in violation of the sanctions imposed on it in resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). These prohibited any further development of technology applicable to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic weapons programmes.

Its principal provisions condemned the satellite launch and recalled the previous sanctions imposed against the country’s weapons development programs. It urged compliance with these resolutions and promised to take further “significant action” if the country refused to cooperate or conducted another nuclear test. It again called for North Korea to rejoin the Six-Party talks.

Resolution 2087 strengthened the sanctions included in Resolutions 1718 and 1874. It deplored the country’s violations of the measures imposed on it by those resolutions, including the use of bulk cash to evade sanctions. Measures were included that clarified a state’s right to seize and destroy material suspected of heading to or from North Korea for purposes of weapons development or research. It also reiterated travel bans on persons suspected of involvement with North Korea’s nuclear program.

It continued exemptions for emergency/humanitarian aid contained in previous UNSC sanctions resolutions.

[Main source: Arms Control Association]

February 6, Japan imposes asset-freeze against additional entities and individuals involved in the DPRK’s WMD programmes

The UN Security Council’s sanctions resolution 2087 (2013) imposed asset freezing measures against a list of individuals and entities as being engaged in the DPRK’s nuclear, other WMD, and ballistic missile development programmes. When the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee added six entities and four individuals to that list, Japan invoked its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act to apply the following measures to those additional individuals and entities:

  1. Payment restrictions – all payments to any of those entities and individuals must obtain the prior approval of the Government of Japan;
  2. Restrictions on capital transactions – all capital transactions with any of those entities and individuals must obtain the prior approval of the Government of Japan.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

February 12, North Koreans detonate third nuclear device

North Korea’s nuclear tests to date are detailed in this BBC webpage.

February 14, Pyongyang says DPRK’s nuclear test is a just, physical, counteraction against the U.S.

The DPRK called the test a direct response to the U.S. nuclear threat and resolution 2087 which it said the U.S. had “cooked up” to deny the DPRK the right to launch satellites for peaceful purposes. “Such a ‘resolution’ [is] characterized by double standards and [its] shameless nature can never frighten the army and people of the DPRK [in its] all out drive for accomplishing the just cause.”

[Source: KCNA]

March 7, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2094, strengthens sanctions on the DPRK

Resolution 2094 was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council in response to the DPRK’s third nuclear test on February 12.

Its principal provisions condemned the DPRK’s third nuclear test and its continued development of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. It becomes the fourth Security Council resolution against the DPRK since 2006 that sanctions the regime for continuing to pursue these programmes.

The Arms Control Association summarises the resolution’s aims as “to make it more difficult for the DPRK to make further progress in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs by hindering its access to hard cash and technological equipment needed to build weapons and pursue uranium enrichment. It also called for states to inspect and detain any suspected cargo or shipments to or from North Korea that transit through their territory, if the cargo is suspected to contain bulk cash or material that could be used in a nuclear program. States also were directed to enhance vigilance over the DPRK’s diplomatic personnel.”

Resolution 2094:

  • Added new financial sanctions that were targeted to block the access of the regime to bulk cash transfers, preventing illicit DPRK activities, and restricting ties to international banking systems. The resolution urged states to use guidance from the Financial Action Task Force to limit the DPRK’s access to finances that could be used for proliferation purposes.
  • Strengthened existing sanctions, expanded the scope of materials covered, and increased measures for states to enforce and monitor the implementation of sanctions and the transshipment of materials to or from North Korea through their territories.
  • Named an additional three individuals to be subject to travel bans and asset freezes and identified two entities for asset freezes that were determined to be involved in the DPRK’s nuclear program.
  • Expanded the list of prohibited imports of luxury goods to the DPRK, to include jewellery, yachts, luxury cars, and racing cars.

It also stated “that measures imposed by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013) and this resolution are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK.”

[Main source: Arms Control Association]

March 20, Japan to impose financial sanctions on the DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank

The Japanese government plans to ban its financial institutions from doing business with the DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank, as a measure to cooperate closely with the United States in dealing with the country over its nuclear weapons programme, government sources said. Although there are currently no transactions between Japanese banks and the DPRK’s primary foreign exchange institution, Japan hopes that imposing economic sanctions on the bank will prompt other countries, including North Korea’s main ally China, to strengthen pressure on Pyongyang, the sources added.

[Source: Japan Bullet]

March 27, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2013 [S.I. 2013/678] was laid before Parliament on March 22 and came into force March 27. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724]. Unusually, it did this by inserting new entries instead of replacing the whole schedule with a new one as was normal. Also, the previous Ammendment Order was not revoked.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

April 5, Japan extends ban on imports/exports to the DPRK for two years

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) decided to extend a ban on all exports destined for the DPRK, and all imports originating in or shipped from the DPRK, in line with “Measures against North Korea pursuant to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act” (decided by the Cabinet on April 5, 2013).

METI had been extending the ban every year but the Cabinet decided to make this expansion last for two years in order “to strongly request North Korea to refrain from further provoking other countries and to proactively take specific actions to resolve the various issues concerned.”

The measures specified that:

  1. The ban on all exports of goods destined for the DPRK shall be extended by imposing the requirement that exporters obtain export approval from METI;
  2. The ban on all imports of goods originating in or shipped from the DPRK shall be extended by imposing the requirement that importers obtain import approval from METI;
  3. To ensure the enforcement of these restrictions, the following transactions shall be banned:
    • Transactions involving buying/selling, loaning/borrowing, or giving of goods that involve the movement of the goods between North Korea and third countries (intermediate trade); and
    • Payments of import bills for goods originating in or shipped from the DPRK which are imported without import approval.

The Act explicitly exempted goods exported for humanitarian purposes from the restrictions.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

July 17, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment No. 2) Order 2013 [S.I. 2013/1745] was laid before Parliament on July 12 and came into force July 17. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724]. Unusually, it did this by inserting new entries instead of replacing the whole schedule with a new one as was normal. Also, the previous Ammendment Order was not revoked.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

August 7, United Kingdom updates sanctions measures in its Overseas Territories

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2013 [S.I. 2013/1718] was laid before Parliament on July 7 and came into force August 7. This Order amended the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2012 to give effect in specified Overseas Territories to the additional sanctions against North Korea adopted by the United Nations Security Council in resolution 2094 (2013), which are reflected and implemented in EU Council Decision 2013/183/CFSP and Council Regulation (EU) 296/2013. The Council Decision prohibits banks and financial institutions established in North Korea from opening branches, acquiring a joint venture, establishing correspondent banking relationships, or maintaining correspondent banking relationships in certain circumstances. This Order also implemented prohibitions introduced by the European Union in Council Decision 2013/153/CFSP on the sale or purchase of gold, precious metals or diamonds; the sale or purchase of North Korean bonds, and the movement of North Korean bank notes.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

August 29, Japan applies administrative sanction (export ban) pursuant to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act

Two individuals/entities sanctioned for exporting to the DPRK via PRC. The first received a 8 months ban for exporting “mandarin oranges, cosmetic foundations, underwear, etc.” and the second a 6 months ban for exporting “second-hand computers, etc.”

There are a number of similar timeline entries for Japan – see entry here for more detail and background to the use by Japan of administrative sanctions for the unlawful export of luxury goods to the DPRK.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

August 30, Japan imposes asset-freeze against entities and individuals involved in the DPRK’s WMD programmes

Japan imposed asset-freezing measures against entities and individuals involved in the DPRK’s nuclear, other WMD and ballistic missile development programmes. The measures are:

  1. Payment restrictions – prior approval from the Government of Japan must be obtained for all payments to any of the entities and individuals specified by the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (MOFA) public notice, promulgated the same day; and
  2. Restrictions on capital transactions – prior approval from the Government of Japan must be obtained for all capital transactions, including contracts of deposit, trust and money loans, with any of the entities and individuals specified by MOFA’s public notice.

[Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)]

2014

January 14, United Kingdom updates sanctions measures

The Export Control (North Korea and Ivory Coast Sanctions and Syria Amendment) Order 2013 [S.I. 2013/3182] was laid before Parliament, 17 December 2013, and came into force on 7 January 2014. The Order essentially consolidates in one single instrument the enforcement of the trade restrictions against the DPRK and updates and extends those restrictions.

<

p style=”text-align:left;”>[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

March 26, DPRK test-fires two medium-range “Nodong” ballistic missiles

The launches took place just hours after the U.S., South Korea and Japan met at The Hague in the Netherlands for talks. The launches also came on the fourth anniversary of the sinking of the Republic of Korea Navy ship Cheonan.

The South Korean defence ministry said the missiles were fired from the Suckon region north of Pyongyang and flew for about 650km (400 miles) before falling into the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. This type of medium-range ballistic missile is capable of hitting most of Japan and also parts of Russia and China.

Washington and Seoul have condemned the launch, which violates UN Security Council resolutions. The U.S. State Department described the launch as “a troubling and provocative escalation” while a ministry spokesman in the ROK described it as a “grave provocation”.

While it is the first launch of a Nodong missile since 2009, in the weeks preceding these latest launches, DPRK had launched multiple short-range missiles – actions which coincided with annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

[Source: BBC News]

May 29, Japan to lift some sanctions against the DPRK after abductions decision

Japan has said it would ease sanctions against the DPRK after it agreed to reinvestigate the kidnapping of Japanese nationals to train spies. The announcement comes after three days of talks between the two sides in Stockholm, Sweden, building on earlier official talks in China in March.

[Main source: The Telegraph]

July 3, Japan lifts some sanctions against the DPRK after abductions decision

Pyongyang rewarded for cooperation over cold war kidnappings but Japan will find itself out of step with its allies and the UN, which has imposed a raft of sanctions against the DPRK, most recently Resolution 2094 in March 2013.

Japan is to lift some sanctions against the DPRK after Pyongyang confirmed it had set up a special commission, as agreed in earlier talks, to reinvestigate the fates of Japanese nationals abducted by its agents during the cold war. The move came amid Japanese media reports that some of the abductees, whom the North had previously claimed were dead, are still alive.

North Korean special forces abducted at least a dozen Japanese nationals during the 1970s and 1980s to teach their language and customs to spies.

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, did not specify which sanctions would be lifted, but reports said the move could include:

  • Lifting the ban on port calls by North Korean vessels;
  • Allowing entry into Japan of North Korean citizens; and
  • Easing restrictions on money transfers to the North.

[Source: The Guardian]

July 24, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2014 [S.I. 2014/1849] was laid before Parliament on July 16 and came into force July 21. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724] and revoked the previous Ammendment Order.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2015

January 2, U.S. President issues E.O. 13687 expanding the scope of the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466, imposing additional sanctions on individuals and entities with respect to DPRK

President Barack Obama issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13687 under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the National Emergencies Act (NEA), to take additional steps to address the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and expanded in E.O. 13551. E.O. 13687 provides for the blocking of property and interests in property of certain persons and entities with respect to DPRK. It targeted in particular controlled entities of the DPRK Government or the Workers’ Party of Korea; officials of the DPRK Government; and officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The findings that prompted the President to sign the E.O. include the “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea, including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014 [a reference to the DPRK’s cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment], actions in violation of UNSCRs 1718, 1874, 2087, and 2094, and commission of serious human rights abuses, [all constituting] a continuing threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

[Source: OFAC North Korea Sanctions Program]

March4, UN Security Council (UNSC) extends mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 Sanctions Committee on DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2207
(2015) under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations
Charter. The adoption is essentially
a technical rollover of the mandate of the Panel.

The wording follows closely the language of the previous mandate
renewal in resolution 2276 of March 24,
2016. The mandate is to be extended for 13 months (to April 5, 2016)
and the Panel is expected to provide a midterm report to the 1718
Sanctions Committee no later than August 5, 2015 and a final report no
later than February 5, 2016.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

March 6, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment) Order 2015 [S.I. 2015/388] was laid before Parliament on February 27 and came into force March 6. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724] and revoked the previous Ammendment Order.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

March 31, Japan extends autonomous sanctions against the DPRK amid stalled abduction probe

Japan said it will extend its trade embargo and other sanctions against the DPRK for two more years, citing no progress in talks on abducted Japanese nationals. The autonomous sanctions, which were first imposed in 2006 over DPRK’s July 2006 missile tests, include remittance and travel bans, a block on chartered flights between the two countries as well as denying North Korean ships entry into Japanese ports, except for humanitarian purposes. They had been due to expire on 13 April 2015.

In July 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said he was easing the measures amid hope of movement on the long-stalled dispute over the abductees. But the government said Pyongyang had delayed reporting back on the issue.

[Source: BBC News and The Japan Times]

July 2, European Union (EU) sanctions German branch of the Korea National Insurance Company (KNIC) and 6 of its representatives

The EU has added the German branch of the Korea National Insurance Company (KNIC) and 6 people said to be its representatives or former representatives to its North Korea sanctions listings.

The EU listed KNIC because it is generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons-of-mass-destruction-related programmes. Furthermore, it was said that the KNIC headquarters in Pyongyang is linked to Office 39 of the Korean Worker’s Party, a designated entity.

The additions are made by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1062 amending Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007.

[Source: European Sanctions]

December 12, United Kingdom updates its list of UN and EU travel bans: Used to refuse excluded persons leave to enter or remain in the UK

The Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) (Amendment No. 2) Order 2015 [S.I. 2015/1994] was laid before Parliament on December 10 and came into force December 21. It updated the schedule to the Immigration (Designation of Travel Bans) Order 2000 [S.I. 2000/2724] and revoked the previous Ammenmdment Order, S.I. 2015/388. It is the only “Travel Bans” Ammendment Order (as of July 2016) that remains in force, all others having been revoked.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

2016

January 6, DPRK says it successfully conducted a hydrogen-bomb test and is a “logical chain of reaction” to the U.S.

Pyongyang says that the DPRK’s H-bomb test on January 6 [is a] logical chain of reaction which is part of its efforts to bolster up its self-defensive nuclear deterrent. It added that this is also the outcome of the DPRK’s decades-long exposure to the nuclear threat by the U.S.

[Source: Pyongyang Times]

January 25, United Kingdom updates sanctions measures

The United Nations Sanctions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2015 [S.I. 2015/2014] was laid before Parliament on December 16 and came into force on January 25, 2016. The Order ammended the North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2009 (S.I. 2009/1749 as amended by S.I. 2009/3213 and 2012/362) to insert the definition of [a UK] “general customs official” in that order.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

February 7, North Korea says it launched a satellite into space

BBC News headlined the event as “North Korea fires long-range rocket despite warnings“. According to CNN, North Korea says it launched a satellite into space, triggering a wave of international condemnation and prompting strong reaction from an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. North Korea says the launch is for scientific and “peaceful purposes,” but it is widely viewed by other nations as a front to test a ballistic missile, especially coming on the heels of North Korea’s purported hydrogen bomb test a month earlier.

[Source: CNN]

February 10, South Korea shuts down joint North-South Korea industrial complex in Kaesong

South Korea decided to close an industrial complex it operates with the DPRK in retaliation for Pyongyang’s rocket launch on February 7, bringing to a sudden halt one of the last symbols of cooperation between the two countries. The following day, the North froze all assets, expelled all South Koreans and declared the zone a military security area.

Officials in Seoul said the decision to shut down the Kaesong manufacturing park was intended to prevent the regime of the DPRK leader, Kim Jong-un, from using hard currency earned through the venture to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

[Source: The Guardian]

Humanitarian impact: The Kaesong manufacturing park employed more than 50,000 skilled North Korean workers, mostly women. The employers provided meals and snacks which made the ‘Kaesong 50,000’ nutritionally privileged. This could have long-term beneficial effects on maternal health and resistance to TB, which is endemic in the DPRK. Those possible long-term health benefits will be lost.

February 18, U.S. President Obama signs H.R. 757 into law imposing new sanctions on the DPRK, expands extraterritorial reach of U.S. law

In the wake of Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear weapons test and a subsequent long-range rocket test, the U.S. Congress has enacted legislation imposing new sanctions against North Korea. However the law was mostly drafted last year in response to findings by the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK.

The Senate and the House passed the H.R. 757 – North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (“the Act”) on February 10, and February 12 respectively. President Obama signed the legislation into law on February 18.

In their February 24 note, Hogan Lovells said “the Act’s emphasis on mandatory, as opposed to discretionary, sanctions indicates the strong Congressional pressure on the White House to use the new authorities in the Act against not just North Korea, but also its few remaining trade partners.

“The Act further expands the scope of U.S. primary sanctions targeting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation activities, abuses of human rights, participation in cyberattacks, and money laundering activities. Perhaps more significantly, it would implement extraterritorial ‘secondary sanctions’ that could impact a variety of importers and exporters, and potentially other companies such as freight forwarders, vessel owners, and insurers who do business in countries that engage in trade with North Korea, such as China.”

The Hogan Lovells note added that “[b]y putting third-country companies at risk of secondary sanctions, seizures of vessels or aircraft, or enhanced scrutiny by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (‘CBP’) of U.S.-bound cargo, the Act employs the same or similar strategies used against Iran to discourage non-U.S. companies from having any involvement with North Korea.”

[Source: Hogan Lovells and 38 North]

February 19, Japan imposes autonomous sanctions on the DPRK after nuclear test, satellite launch

Japan approved unilateral sanctions on the DPRK first announced on February 9. The appoval by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows the January 6 nuclear test and a satellite launch seen by Tokyo as cover for development of ballistic missile technology that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Japan had partially lifted some sanctions in 2014 when North Korea promised to look into the fate of Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, but most of these were re-imposed in reaction to the DPRK’s nuclear test on January 6 and missile test on February 7.

The new sanctions ban North Korean nationals from entering Japan. They also ban remittances, except for those less than 100,000 yen ($890 approx.) and for humanitarian purposes only. Furthermore, North Korean ships and any third-country ship that has stopped in North Korea will no longer be allowed port calls in Japan.

Additional measures that go beyond sanctions that existed prior to 2014 include a freeze on assets held by suspect individuals and organizations in Japan, and a ban on nuclear and missile-related foreign technicians who have been to North Korea from reentering Japan.

Editor’s Note: The abductees issue effects Japanese decision-making because Prime Mimister Shinzo Abe’s hawkish stance on the issue has gained him widespread political support. It is a problem unique to Japan that has the potential to be a “wedge issue” between Japan and Japan’s allies. Even as Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga first announced the new sanctions on February 9, he explicitly stated that the door will be kept open for further dialogue with the DPRK on the abductees issue.

However, North Korea responded to that announcement of new sanctions by saying that it has disbanded a special committee to look into the whereabouts of missing Japanese nationals suspected of having been abducted decades ago.

[Source: The Japan Times 10 February and 19 February]

March 2, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2270, adds significant new sanctions on the DPRK

Resolution 2270 became the fifth sanctions resolution against the DPRK issued by the UNSC. It adds a number of new financial restrictions and was unanimously adopted by the Security Council after the DPRK conducted a fourth nuclear test and launched a satellite for the second time. The nuclear test of January 6 and the launch on February 7 “using ballistic missile technology” were violations of Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), and 2094 (2013).

UNSC resolution 2270 targets Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with a set of sanctions that the U.S. proclaimed the strongest imposed by the Security Council in two decades. UN member states are called upon to enforce the following measures:

  • require inspection of all cargo leaving or entering DPRK by sea or air;
  • ban all sales or transfers of small arms and light weapons to DPRK;
  • limit or ban the export from DPRK of coal, iron, and iron ore being used to fund DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes;
  • ban the export from DPRK of gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore, and rare earth minerals;
  • ban the export to DPRK of aviation fuel, including kerosene-type rocket fuel;
  • prohibit the export to and from DPRK of several new luxury items, including snowmobiles, recreational water vehicles, luxury watches, and lead crystal;
  • require member states to expel DPRK diplomats who engage in “illicit activities”;
  • ban leasing or chartering of vessels or aircraft or providing crew services to the DPRK and call on countries to de-register any vessel owned, operated, or crewed by DPRK;
  • prohibit the opening of new branches, subsidiaries, or representative offices of DPRK banks in member states;
  • prohibit financial institutions from establishing new joint ventures, or maintaining or establishing correspondent relationships with DPRK banks;
  • require that member states close DPRK banks in their jurisdictions and terminate banking relationships with them within 90 days;
  • require member states to impose asset freezes on entities linked to DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes (previously they were only encouraged to do this);
  • prohibit specialised training of any DPRK national in fields that could be used to advance the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including nuclear and space-related technical exchanges; and
  • impose asset freezes and travel bans on 16 people and 12 entities, including the agency responsible for DPRK’s rocket launch in February.
  • designated 31 ships owned by North Korean controlled Ocean Maritime Management Company, Limited (OMM).

China negotiated an important “livelihood purposes” exemption in respect of coal exports. Section 29(b) of the resolution exempts transactions that are determined to be exclusively for livelihood purposes and unrelated to generating revenue for the DPRK’s WMD programmes.

The 38 North website notes that there are further restrictions on banks and bankers. The resolution forbids the DPRK from opening new bank branches in Member States and it bars foreign banks or companies from taking ownership stakes or maintaining correspondent banking relationships with North Korean banks. Member States also must shut down the DPRK banks within their borders. There are gaps in these restrictions, however, as foreign banks can maintain offices and accounts in North Korea that already exist, unless evidence emerges that they are supporting sanctioned activity.

Resolution 2270 further toughened the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006) so that all the funds, other financial assets and economic resources outside of the DPRK that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by entities of the Government of the DPRK or the Worker’s Party of Korea, that the State determines are associated with the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs or other activities prohibited by the earlier sanctions resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) or 2270 itself.

Resolution 2270 made specific reference to failures by the DPRK to meet the needs of its people noting that “the chronic suffering of its people was the direct result of the choices made by their Government” and said it deplored “the use of scarce resources for weapons development while citizens lived in abject poverty.”

Sources: European Sanctions and UN Press Release]

March 2, U.S. imposes sanctions on several DPRK government officials and organization tied to its missile and nuclear programs

On the same day that the UNSC passed Resolution 2270, the U.S. imposed sanctions on several North Korean government officials and organization tied to its missile and nuclear programs.

In their March 3 note on Resolution 2270, Hogan Lovells said “[t]he Treasury and State Department designations were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets WMD proliferators and their supporters, as well as E.O. 13687, which targets the Government of North Korea, the Workers’ Party of Korea, and their supporters.

“As a result, all assets of those persons and entities designated by the U.S. that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with these persons.”

[Source: Hogan Lovells]

March 3, Philippines impounds North Korean boat under new UN sanctions

The Philippines became the first country to enforce the tough new UN sanctions measures that are contained in UNSCR 2270 when it impounded a cargo vessel, the Jin Teng, suspected of being a North Korean ship. Its North Korean crew will be deported.

The vessel is registered and flagged under multiple countries, but it is one of 31 listed in an annex to resolution 2270 as subject to the asset freeze.

[Source: The Guardian and What’s in Blue]

March 4, DPRK Government spokesman clarifies its stand to resolutely counter UN “Resolution on Sanctions”

Pyongyang statement says that “[b]eing taken aback by the H-bomb test of the DPRK and its successful launch of earth satellite Kwangmyongsong-4, the U.S. and other big powers and their followers finally fabricated ‘resolution No. 2270 calling for harsh sanctions’ against the DPRK by abusing the name of the UN Security Council.”

[Source: KCNA]

March 8, South Korea imposes additional automomous sanctions on the DPRK

South Korea enacted a new set of autonomous sanctions against the DPRK which build on the March 2 resolution from the UN Security Council. New measures go beyond UN designations, tighten maritime and trade rules.

Seoul also added a number of individuals and companies to the list proposed by the UN, while tightening maritime and trade loopholes. The maritime measures address the DPRK’s use of ships owned by third parties, or North Korean ships sailing under flags of convenience. Vessels which have visited ports in the DPRK in the previous 180 days will not be allowed to enter South Korean ports.

[Source: NK News]

Humanitarian impact: Immediate. It put the lives of more than 1,500 North Koreans being treated for MDR-TB at risk because essential drugs could not be exported from South Korea to the DPRK.

March 9, Eugene Bell Foundation declares a medical emergency: Essential medical aid held up by Seoul’s sanctions

Essential humanitarian aid to treat multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the DPRK held up in South Korea because of the imposition of new sanctions.

In a March 9 press release, the Eugene Bell Foundation (EBF) said that the lives of more than 1,500 North Koreans were at risk because the ROK government failed to make humanitarian aid an exception to the additional sanctions against the DPRK it announced on March 8.

EBF appealed to Seoul authorities for rapid action to release the three containers of MDR-TB medication destined for the 1,500 patients enrolled in treatment programmes in its twelve treatment centres in the DPRK. These had just enough of the medication to last through April.

“Unless something is done quickly, our patients will fail treatment and die” said Dr. Stephen Linton, Chairman of the Eugene Bell Foundation.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Blog]

March 9, China appears to have already implemented new UN sanctions on the DPRK

Korea Times said that “China appears to have already implemented new UN sanctions on North Korea, with daily shipments of bilateral trade in their border area declining by as much as 30 percent….”

China backed new UN sanctions to punish the North for conducting its fourth nuclear test and launch of a long-range rocket this year. The new UN sanctions, which require all countries to inspect cargo leaving and entering North Korea at all airports and sea ports, were adopted earlier this month.

[Source: Korea Times]

Humanitarian impact: Chinese officials are quoted as having said “Beijing would ‘earnestly’ implement the new UN sanctions, but the sanctions should not affect the well-being and humanitarian needs of North Korean people.” It is important to note that access for North Korean people to basic needs such as fuel, medicines and daily-use manufactured goods is heavily dependent upon trade between China and North Korea and so the impact of Chinese sanctions would be immediate and serious. If China does indeed manage to ‘earnestly’ enforce sanctions then these should be closely monitored and managed.

March 14, Japan increases sanctions against DPRK, banning re-entry of Chongryon leadership

In response to DPRK’s fourth nuclear test in January and a missile launch in February, the Japanese government has added more than 20 people, including some Chinese and South Korean nationals, to a list of people banned from re-entering the country after visiting DPRK, taking the total to 45. The ban principally applies to the re-entry of foreign residents of Japan convicted of offenses involving trade or financial transactions with DPRK.

The 22 people earlier banned from re-entry includes high-ranking officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, commonly known as Chongryon. The association serves as a de facto government mission for DPRK in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Of that group, five hold the rank of “representative” in DPRK, equivalent to a parliament member, including Chongryon head Ho Jong-man and vice head Nam Sung-U.

Also among the initial 22 people put on the list are five members of a Chongyron-affiliated association of Korean scientists and engineers living in Japan suspected of being involved in missile engine development.

Japan banned the re-entry of around eight people, including senior Chongryon officials, from 2006 after a previous DPRK missile launch. But in July 2014, Tokyo repealed the measure after a May 2014 agreement made in Stockholm with DPRK representatives in which Pyongyang agreed to launch a new probe into Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, and who remain missing.

[Sourcea: The Japan Tines and The Dong-a Ilbo]

March 15, U.S. President Obama issues E.O. 13722 strengthening export and other trade restrictions against DPRK and imposing a comprehensive blocking of the Workers’ Party of Korea

President Barack Obama issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13722 under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (NEA), the United Nations Participation Act (the UNPA), and the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (the NKSPEA), to take additional steps to address the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and expanded in E.O. 13551, in light of further North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile tests. E.O. 13722 was issued to ensure implementation of certain provisions of UNSCR 2270 of March 2, 2016 and the NKSPEA; it strengthened export and other trade restrictions against DPRK; and imposed a comprehensive blocking of the Government of DPRK and the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The order targets North Koreans who work in the mining, energy, transportation or banking industries, particularly those who have engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for the exportation of workers from DPRK, including exportation to generate revenue for the DPRK Government or the Workers’ Party of Korea; who help acquire nuclear or missile components or software; who are engaged in human rights abuses or human trafficking; or who are involved in hacking, censorship or sanctions evasion.

[Sources: OFAC North Korea Sanctions Program and Al Jazeera]

March 17, More evidence that China is complying with sanctions against the DPRK

A DPRK bank, Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation, operating covertly in the Chinese border city of Dandong has closed down recently, in a further sign that Beijing is now strictly complying with international sanctions against its neighbour, says The Chosun Ilbo.

It noted that DPRK banks in China officially suspended operations after the DPRK’s third nuclear test in 2013, but some continued to run illegally in Dandong while Chinese authorities allegedly looked the other way. The banks handled trade financing and loans to businesspeople in the North who engaged in trade with China.

China has also drastically stepped up searches of cargo headed to the DPRK, a government source in Dandong said, bolstering staff at customs checkpoints.

The official said Beijing is also complying with the most recent UN Security Council Resolution on sanctions against the DPRK, 2270, that mandates the seizure of 31 vessels operated by the North Korean shipping company Ocean Maritime Management.

A growing number of North Korean restaurants in northeastern China are closing down. “Anti-North Korean sentiment increased in China after the North’s latest nuclear test, and the slowing Chinese economy also played a role,” the official said.

“In Dandong,” said a taxi driver, “There are a lot of people who make a living trading with North Korea, so the region’s economy inevitably takes a hit from the sanctions.”

Chinese traders doing business near the checkpoint were nervous. Although clothes and other basic products were left out of the sanctions list, Chinese traders fear that they could be included at any time. “Chinese traders who export North Korean-made products manufactured on commission will end up suffering if the U.S. or South Korea track the sources and include them on their own sanctions lists,” a local source said.

Chinese authorities also seem to be cracking down on 20,000 North Koreans working there. Some 15,000 of these work in Chinese-run clothing factories in Dandong. The main targets are illegals with only entry passes but no work permits.

Chinese travel agencies that offer package tours to North Korea also stopped recruiting customers. One travel agent in Yanbian said, “The Chinese government banned tours to North Korea for a year after the North’s third nuclear test in 2013, and there are rumors that the latest sanctions will be tougher, so travel agents are really nervous.”

[Source: The Chosun Ilbo 4 March and 17 March]

March 21, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee removes 4 ships from UN blacklist after assurances from China

The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee agreed to a Chinese request to remove the blacklisting of four ships after China secured assurances the vessels would not use North Korean crews. The ships were among 31 vessels sanctioned by the UN Security Council on March 2, 2016, when the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270, because they were owned by North Korean shipping firm Ocean Maritime Management Company, Limited (OMM). The four ships include the Jin Teng, a cargo ship detained by the Philippines days after the sanctions measures in UNSCR 2270 took effect.

The Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Liu Jieyi, said “We discovered that they are not OMM ships…. The basis for the listing of the ships is basically that they belong to OMM, so if you make a mistake, then you correct the mistake.”

However U.S. and other Western officials have said all the original listings were carefully vetted before the ships were added to the blacklist as part of the sanctions measures agreed in UNSCR 2270. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee agreed to the request after China secured written commitments that the four ships would no longer use North Korean crews.

Note: A subsequent request from China on December 17, 2016 for the removal of 5 more ships from the original list of 31 was also successful after it gave similar assurances to the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee.

[Sources: Reuters and MarineLink]

March 17, Russia’s Gazprom halts business with the DPRK

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom has halted business with North Korea, RIA Novosti reported. The Russian state news agency said Gazprom made clear in a recent memorandum of understanding on the issuance of eurobonds that it is not involved in any business with the North. Its management was apparently worried that the company could otherwise suffer losses amid international sanctions against the DPRK.

Gazprom had been engaged in gas pipeline construction and exploring natural gas deposits in the DPRK.

[Source: The Chosun Ilbo]

March 24, UN Security Council (UNSC) extends mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 Sanctions Committee on DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2276 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-member Council also decided that the Panel’s mandate should apply with respect to measures imposed in resolution 2270 (2016). The adoption is essentially a technical rollover of the mandate of the Panel.

The What’s in Blue site notes that the proposed text “follows closely the language of the previous mandate renewal in resolution 2207 (2015). The mandate is to be extended for 13 months and the Panel is expected to provide a midterm report to the 1718 Sanctions Committee by 7 September 2016 and a final report no later than 1 February 2017. While the draft resolution indicates that the Panel’s mandate will apply with respect to measures imposed by resolution 2270, which added new, tougher sanctions measures, it does not modify the Panel’s mandate or expand the number of members as a result of the new measures.

[Source: UNSC Press Release and What’s in Blue]

March 31, European Union (EU) implements UNSCR 2270 applying further sanctions on DPRK

The EU implemented the new sanctions on DPRK that were introduced by the UN Security Council when it agreed UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2270 on 2 March. The new sanctions include a ban on UN Member States importing coal, iron, and iron ore from DPRK, a prohibition on opening new branches, subsidiaries, or representative offices of DPRK banks in Member States, and a requirement that Member States expel DPRK diplomats who are engaging in certain illicit activities.

In order to implement UNSCR 2270 (2016), the Council of the EU adopted Decision (CFSP) 2016/476, which amended Decision 2013/183/CFSP. This latter decision implements, inter alia, UNSCR 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013) and 2094 (2013).

[Source: European Sanctions]

March 31, European Union (EU) lists German and UK offices of Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC), de-lists KNIC GmbH

The EU has listed the European offices of the Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC) in Hamburg and London, de-listed KNIC GmbH, and changed the reasons for listing various individuals said to be associated with KNIC. It has added derogations for KNIC relating to payments to KNIC by EU persons necessary for obtaining insurance in the DPRK, receipt of payments arising out of such services in respect of damages caused within the EU, and payments due under a contract prior to KNIC’s listing. See Regulation 2016/465 amending Regulation 329/2007 and Decision 2016/475 amending Decision 2013/183/CFSP.

[Source: European Sanctions]

April 4, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee publishes a ‘sensitive goods’ list in accordance with UNSCR 2270

In accordance with UNSCR 2270 (2016), the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee published a list of additional goods to which prohibitions on the transfer, procurement and provision of technical assistance apply (the ‘sensitive goods’ list).

[Source: UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee letter]

April 5, China’s Ministry of Commerce implementing UN sanctions covering resource trade with the DPRK

China’s Ministry of Commerce is implementing the recent United Nation sanctions covering resource trade with North Korea, it announced [in Chinese].

The commerce ministry’s announcement identifies certain trade restrictions, and their respective exemptions, mirroring Resolution 2270. This includes:

  • Complete ban on importing North Korean gold, titanium, vanadium and rare earth minerals;
  • Ban on importing North Korean coal and iron ore if it is reasonably proven to be linked to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs; and
  • Ban on supplying North Korea with “aviation fuel, including aviation gasoline, naphtha type jet fuel, kerosene type jet fuel, kerosene rocket fuel type.”

The ban on these last items is subject to exemption on a case by case basis for humanitarian purposes. There are also exemptions on importing coal and iron ore if it is deemed to be “solely for the purpose of people’s livelihood” or if it originates from outside the DPRK but passes through the country for export from the port of Rason.

[Source: NK News]

April 15, DPRK test launches a ballistic missile off the country’s east coast

North Korea conducted a test launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), likely a Musudan. The missile was fired into the Sea of Japan/East Sea. According to South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, the missile launch appears to be a failure.

The Musudan missile, also known as the BM-25, is a previously untested medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile developed and built by DPRK. It has an estimated range of 2,500-4,000 kilometers and an estimated payload capacity of 1,000-1,250 kilograms. The missile’s estimated range would put Guam, the Philippines, and most of China and Southeast Asia within range of a missile strike. The missile appears to be based on the Soviet-made R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The launch was timed to occur on the birthday of North Korean national founder Kim Il-sung. Kim’s birthday, April 15, is known in DPRK as the Day of the Sun and is a major national holiday.

[Source: NK News]

April 23, DPRK tests a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off the country’s east coast

North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast. The state news agency, KCNA, claimed the missile was powered by a solid fuel engine. If true, it would mark a significant advance in DPRK’s SLBM technology.

It was reported that the missile flew for about 30km (18 miles) but it is unclear whether the launch may have been a failure for unspecified reasons.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said launches using ballistic missile technology were “a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

DPRK is banned from nuclear tests and activities that use ballistic missile technology under UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security Council has adopted five major resolutions since 2006 that impose and strengthen sanctions on DPRK for continuing to develop its nuclear weapons program. The most recent resolution (2270) was adopted in March but DPRK has pushed ahead with work to miniaturise a nuclear warhead and develop sea- and land-launched long-range ballistic missiles.

[Sources: NK News and Reuters]

April 23, France calls on EU to adopt new sanctions against DPRK

France called on the European Union on Saturday to adopt additional sanctions on DPRK in response to reports of its test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

“We call on the international community to adopt a firm and united reaction so that North Korea stops its provocations,” a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“In particular, France calls on the European Union to unilaterally adopt additional sanctions,” he said, adding that if the SLBM launch earlier in the day was confirmed, it would be a new violation of UN resolutions.

[Source: Reuters]

April 24, UN strongly condemns the DPRK’s test firing of the submarine-launched ballistic missile

The UN Security Council President Liu Jieyi (China) issued a Security Council press statement that said in part:

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 23 April. This incident constituted yet another serious violation by the DPRK of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016).

The full text of the UNSC press release is here.

[Source: UNSC]

April 27, DPRK again attempts test launches of a ballistic missile off the country’s east coast

After its failed test launch on April 15, DPRK again attempted to launch the Musudan, this time launching two missiles on the same day. [NB UN documents seem to use ET in the U.S. so these launches are stated as being on 27 and 28 April respectively because of the timezone differences]. The first was fired about 6:10 a.m. local time (5:40 p.m. Wednesday ET in the U.S.) and appears to have crashed shortly after it was launched. The second Musudan missile was fired at 6:56 p.m. local time (6:26 a.m. ET, 28 April in the U.S). This launch, from the port city of Wonsan, is also believed to have failed. These were the second and third ground-based Musudan launches that have failed in two weeks.

[Source: CNN]

May 10, Russia begins imposing transport, banking restrictions on the DPRK

of transport and banking-related restrictions with respect to DPRK, a draft presidential order on compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2270 revealed.

Interfax and Tass reported on May 6 of an announcement by the Russian Foreign Ministry citing the draft of a decree by President Vladimir Putin for the resolution’s enforcement. The order, published on the official website for draft laws and regulations:

  • Prohibits supplying aircraft fuel to DPRK except for the re-fuelling of North Korean aircraft in third countries;
  • Prohibits all forms of ownership of North Korean aircraft and seagoing vessels by Russian citizens and organizations;
  • Calls for tightening measures for the inspection of aircraft and seagoing vessels from DPRK on Russian territory.

Russia will almost completely suspend financial relations with DPRK. The order issues instructions to “take the necessary measures to close subsidiaries, branches or representative offices of North Korean banks on the territory of the Russian Federation and joint ventures with North Korean banks, and prohibit equity participation in the ownership of North Korean banks and correspondent relations with North Korean banks within 90 days of March 2, 2016.”

[Source: Interfax / Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH)]

May 18, Switzerland imposes stricter sanctions on the DPRK, thereby implementing Resolution 2270 of the UN Security Council

Crucially, however, this stricter regime does not include autonomous sanctions against the DPRK. Switzerland, by implementing these measures, is limiting itself to complying with its obligations under international law and no more. According to NK News, Fabian Maienfisch, Deputy Head of Communications, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is quoted as saying:

“These are not [autonomous] and this is because Switzerland itself does not implement [autonomous] sanctions against the [DPRK], these decisions are always based on the decision of the United Nations and the European Union.”

The SECO press release refers to four areas of activity for which Switzerland will enact a new ordinance to meet the provisions required of Resolution 2270. These areas of activity are:

  1. Financial sector.
    • Blocking all funds and resources connected with the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes;
    • Prohibiting Swiss banks from operating branches, subsidiaries or agencies in the DPRK. The same applies to North Korean banks in Switzerland.
  2. Export sector.
    • Extending the ban on the export of luxury goods to include additionl products;
    • Import, export and transit of any consignments of these goods must be checked by customs to ensure they contain no prohibited products;
    • Export and transit of goods bound for the DPRK must be authorised in advance by SECO;
    • In a new move, the export of goods that increase the operational capabilities of the North Korean armed forces has been prohibited;
    • Sale and supply of certain aviation fuels is prohbited;
    • Purchase of certain raw materials from the DPRK, ranging from bulk coal and iron ore to gold and rare minerals is prohibited;
  3. Maritime and air transport sectors.
    • Banning leasing/charter contracts with the DPRK related to aircraft and ships;
    • Take-off, landing and overflight rights for aircraft will not be granted if there is reason to suspect that planes may be carrying cargo in contravention of the provisions of the new Swiss ordinance.
  4. Education sector.
    • Citizens of the DPRK will not be permitted to take certain courses in subjects such as higher physics, advanced computer simulation or nuclear engineering;
    • Military, paramilitary and police training for instructors, consultants and government officials from the DPRK is also prohibited.

In regard to this last point, SWI reported that, since 2011, eight North Koreans have studied at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), with the Swiss defence ministry covering the costs of approximately CHF160,000 ($173,000).

In February 2015, SWI reported that the Swiss defence ministry had decided to stop paying for North Korean army officers to attend the Geneva training centre. Army personnel from the DPRK could still attend GCSP courses, but now at their own expense, the ministry had decided. However, this activity is likely to be prohibited under the new Swiss ordinance that implements UN Security Council resolution 2270.

[Source: SECO press release]

May 27, European Union (EU) expands DPRK sanctions

The EU expanded its sanctions on DPRK, in view of what it called the “grave threat to international peace and security” posed by DPRK “in the region and beyond.” In March this year the EU implemented the UN’s wide-ranging new sanctions on DPRK, which included a ban on importing North Korean coal, iron, and iron ore, a prohibition on financial institutions opening new branches, subsidiaries, or representative offices in DPRK, and made any cargo originating in or destined for DPRK liable for inspection.

The new measures include prohibitions on:

  • the import of petroleum products, luxury goods, and additional dual-use goods from DPRK;
  • providing any public financial support for trade with DPRK or transferring funds to and from the country without authorisation;
  • investment by DPRK in the EU, or by EU persons in the mining, refining, or chemical industry sectors in DPRK, or any entity engaged in its illegal programmes; and
  • North Korean aircraft landing in, taking off from, or flying over EU territory, and on North Korean vessels entering EU ports.

Editor’s Note: In these expanded EU sanctions, Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 329/2007 has been amended to introduce a prohibition on the import of luxury goods from DPRK. Article 4 already prohibited the export of luxury goods to DPRK.

See Regulation 2016/841 amending Regulation 329/2007 and Decision 2016/849, which consolidates and replaces Decision 2013/183/CFSP for the sake of clarity.

[Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

May 31, DPRK makes a further test launch of a ballistic missile

This was DPRK’s fourth attempt to launch the Musudan. It exploded on its launch pad.

[Source: CSIS Missile Defense Project]

June 1, U.S. Treasury proposes more autonomous sanctions to further restrict the DPRK’s access to the U.S. financial system

The U.S. Treasury took actions to further restrict the DPRK’s access to the U.S. financial system. It used Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act to declare the DPRK a a jurisdiction of “primary money laundering concern” and released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to further isolate the DPRK from the international financial system.

U.S. law already prohibits U.S. financial institutions from engaging in both direct and indirect transactions with DPRK financial institutions. The new U.S. Treasury measures seek to stop banks in third-countries, which have links to U.S. financial institutions, from conducting transactions on behalf of the government of the DPRK and its state-controlled corporations.

The proposed rulemaking would require U.S. financial institutions to implement additional due diligence measures in order to prevent banking institutions in the DPRK from gaining improper indirect access to U.S. correspondent accounts in third-countries.

[Source: U.S. Treasury press release]

June 10, United Kingdom updates sanctions measures in its Overseas Territories

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2016 [S.I. 2016/630] was laid before Parliament June 9 and came into force the next day, June 10. This Order ammended the principal Order, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2012 and gave effect in specified Overseas Territories to the additional sanctions against the DPRK adopted by the United Nations Security Council in resolution 2270 (2016), which are reflected and implemented in [European Union] Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007.

  • It provided for the imposition of additional asset freezing measures against certain funds and economic resources of the Government of the DPRK and the Korean Workers Party and made provision for licences to be granted to enable the dealing of such funds and economic resources in specified circumstances.
  • It provided for the imposition of additional financial sanctions measures on DPRK credit and financial institutions and UK credit and financial institutions. These included requirements to terminate financial relationships with North Korean credit and financial institutions, prevent new economic activity in the DPRK and prohibit financial support for trade that could assist nuclear-related, other weapons of mass destructions-related, or ballistic missile-related programmes, or other activities prohibited by the Council Regulation.
  • It gave effect to new sectoral prohibitions relating to the export of coal, minerals, iron ore, gold, other metals and an import ban on aviation fuel.
  • It broadened the inspection regime in relation to cargo which may be carrying prohibited goods from or to the DPRK.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

June 14, China bans export of dual-use items to DPRK in further implementation of sanctions imposed by UNSCR 2270

China’s Commerce Ministry announced a ban on export to DPRK of “dual-use” items that can also be used in the development, testing and manufacture of nuclear devices, missile technology and chemical weapons. It has added 40 items to a much longer Chinese list of banned goods released in 2013 after the DPRK carried out its third nuclear test that year. The additional list of prohibited items includes magnetic materials, high-strength metals, chemical fibres, and laser-welding equipment. It also lists about a dozen chemicals that could be used in producing chemical warfare agents.

The decision by China implements sanctions unnimously agreed in UNSC Resolution 2270 (March 2016). It had already implemented the UNSC’s ban on imports of DPRK coal and iron ore, and on sales of aviation fuel to DPRK. However China allows flights from the North to refuel.

It is noted that China has declined in the past to give a full list of items banned for export to DPRK, which UN monitors have said makes it difficult to assess how strictly China is implementing sanctions.

[Sources: Reuters and European Sanctions]

June 21, DPRK makes its fifth and sixth attempt to test launch a ballistic missile

DPRK attempted its fifth and sixth test of the Musudan missile. It is thought that the first missile traveled approximately 150km from its road mobile launcher located near Wonsan on the esat coast. It broke up in mid-air although later reports from North Korea claim that they intentionally destroyed the missile mid-flight. The second launch came approximately two hours later. It is reported that during this test, the Musudan was able to travel 400km, while reaching an altitude of over 1,0000km.

[Source: CSIS Missile Defense Project]

June 21, U.S. renews sanctions on DPRK

President Obama has renewed U.S. sanctions on DPRK. The National Emergency with Respect to North Korea is to continue for another year beyond June 26, 2016. In his message to Congress he said “the actions and policies of the government of North Korea that destabilise the Korean Peninsula…including its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs…continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat”. The sanctions automatically expire if not renewed by the President within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of the national emergency being declared.

[Source: European Sanctions]

June 23, UN Security Council “strongly condemns” DPRK’s ballistic missile launches of 21 June

The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launches by the DPRK on 21 June and “reiterated that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shall refrain from further actions, including nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions.”

The UNSC called on all member states to “redouble their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed on the DPRK by the Security Council, particularly the comprehensive measures contained in resolution 2270 (2016).” It noted that such activities by the DPRK contribute to their development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension and it expressed regret that the DPRK is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while its citizens have great unmet needs.

[Source: UNSC]

July 6, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK to target officials and entities associated with the country’s human rights violations

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated top officials of the DPRK regime, including DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, ten other individuals, and five entities, for their ties to DPRK’s notorious abuses of human rights. OFAC took this action in conjunction with the State Department’s issuance of a Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea in accordance with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, and to further its efforts to expose those responsible for serious human rights abuses and censorship in DPRK.

The full text of the U.S. Department of the Treasury press statement is here.

It is the first time Washington has sanctioned Kim Jong-un personally. Administration officials said Kim was “ultimately responsible” for what they called “North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights.” Among the newly designated entities, all of which are government departments, are the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of People’s Security, which are said to have been involved in torture, execution, rape, starvation, forced abortions, and infanticide in the detention centres and prison camps that they operate.

The OFAC press statement says that “[as] a result of [these] actions, any property or interest in property of those designated by OFAC within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen.” “Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited.”

The effect of these measures will ripple out to impact on international financial institutions. Many will avoid those designated on these types of sanctions list so they can continue to do business with U.S. institutions.

DPRK is already subject to heavy U.S. sanctions for its past nuclear and missile activity. But this latest action marks the first time regime officials have been sanctioned for human rights abuses.

[Sources: OFAC
and European Sanctions]

July 8, South Korea and U.S. agree to deploy THAAD missile defence system

The two countries announced they would deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.

China and Russia both issued angry responses to the announcement. China and Russia have long been opposed to the THAAD deployment on the Korean peninsula, which they fear could undercut their own deterrent capacity by potentially shooting down their missiles.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued almost immediately after the deployment was announced that it was “strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed” to the idea, warning it will only exacerbate tensions in the region and upset the “strategic balance,” according to an account in the Xinhua official news service. China also criticised the decision to impose sanctions on the leader of its ally North Korea.

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed “very serious concern” over the news, which it said was made “despite strong and persistent opposition of the Russian side and a number of other countries.” Moscow in its statement warned of unspecified “dangerous consequences” if the deployment went forward.

But U.S. and South Korean defense officials in Seoul insisted THAAD will be used only as protection against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. “It will be focused solely on North Korean nuclear and missile threats and would not be directed toward any third-party nations,” they said.

Japan has said it is considering another layer of ballistic missile defense, such as THAAD, to complement ship-borne missiles aboard Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan/East Sea and its ground-based Patriot missiles.

[Source: Reuters and Washington Times]

July 9, DPRK carries out underwater test-firing of a strategic submarine-launched ballistic missile

DPRK conducted a test of a KN-11 (Pukkuksong-1 or Bukgeukseong-1) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the waters of the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

It is reported that the missile flew about 30 kilometers before exploding and breaking into two or three pieces. It seems that, though the missile successfully ejected from the submarine, the flight portion of the test was a failure.

DPRK is prohibited from developing and launching ballistic missiles under multiple UN Security Council resolutions. However this ballistic missile test followed a previous SLBM launch in April. The country also conducted a failed SLBM launch in late November 2015 and another, possibly successful, launch in May of the same year.

The test is a probable response to the decisions of the U.S. earlier in the week. These were:

  1. The decision on July 6 to impose additional sanctions against the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un for alleged human rights abuse in his nation;
  2. The decision on July 8 to install a Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea despite strong objections from China and Russia.

[Source: NK News]

July 18, DPRK launches three Scud-variant missiles from its east coast

DPRK launched three short-range missiles, presumed to be Scuds (probably 1 x Hwasong series short-range and 2 x Rodong mid-range), from its east coast. The missiles were launched from North Hwanghae province and travelled for up to 600km (370 miles). The range is enough to reach the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.

The launches followed Washington and Seoul’s announcement on July 8 week that the allies would install a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery in South Korea, something the North later said would become a possible target for a nuclear strike, warning that it would take ‘physical measures’ to turn future South Korean THAAD sites into a “sea of fire” and “pile of ash.”

This is the second weapons test by the DPRK since the deployment of THAAD was confirmed by the U.S. and South Korean government. It is suggested that this earlier test, and today’s mutiple launching of short-range missiles, is an attempt by the DPRK to demonstrate that it has the capability to overwhelm any anti-missile defence shield that might be installed in South Korea.

[Sources: NK News and The Guardian]

August 2, DPRK launches a ballistic missile into waters near Japan

DPRK fired a ballistic missile into waters near Japan, a day after President Park Geun-hye of South Korea said her government remained firm in its plan to deploy an advanced American missile defense system despite protests at home and from China.

The North Korean missile, a midrange Rodong missile, was fired from Eunyul, near the country’s southwestern tip. The launch location meant that the missile flew over populated areas of the DPRK before reaching the coast and overflying the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

It flew 620 miles before plunging into the sea between North Korea and Japan. Japan’s defense minister, Gen. Nakatani, told reporters that the missile had landed about 155 miles off northern Japan, in international waters that the country claims under maritime law as part of its exclusive economic zone. It was the closest a North Korean missile had come to Japan since 1998, when Pyongyang launched one that flew over the country.

The Rodong missile has a range of at least 800 miles, enough to target much of Japan, and a CEP of 1-2km. The 620-mile flight was one of the longest yet for one of the DPRK’s missile tests.

[Source: New York Times]

August 10, United Kingdom makes more updates to sanctions measures in its Overseas Territories

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2016 [S.I. 2016/769] was laid before Parliament on July 20 and came into force August 10. It further amended the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/3066), as amended (see June 10 entry above).

It gave appropriate effect in specified Overseas Territories to additional sanctions measures adopted by the European Union in Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 and Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007, most recently amended by Council Regulation (EU) 2016/841 of 27th May 2016. That Council Decision and Council Regulation (EU) 2016/841 also make minor changes to the implementation by the European Union of the sanctions recently adopted by the United Nations Security Council in resolution 2270 (2016). These UN sanctions were given effect in specified Overseas Territories in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2016 (S.I. 2016/630 – see June 10 entry above) and this Order gave effect to those minor changes.

In particular this Order provided for the imposition of additional financial sanctions measures, including those related to investment in commercial activity or joint ventures with, and financing and provision of investment services to, certain North Korean persons. It also prevented certain transactions with North Korean persons and transfers of funds to and from the DPRK.

This Order also gave effect to a new sectoral prohibition relating to obtaining petroleum products.

[Source: legislative.gov.uk]

August 23, DPRK tests a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off the country’s east coast

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its eastern coast. After several failed tests of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the missile in this latest test launch, from near the Sinpo submarine base, flew 310 miles toward Japan. The New York Times reports South Korean military as saying this demonstrates a significant improvement in DPRK’s efforts to build a harder-to-detect means to strike American and allied forces.

[Source: New York Times]

September 5, DPRK fires three ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast

DPRK fired three missiles, presumed to be “intermediate range” Rodong-class ballistic missiles, into the sea off its east coast. They were fired from an area south of the capital Pyongyang just after noon (10.00 p.m. ET in the U.S.) and are reported to have flown about 1,000 km (600 miles), coming within range of Japan’s air defense identification zone.

The launches appeared to be a show of force timed to coincide with the G20 summit taking place in Hangzhou, China. The missiles were launched just hours after the leaders of South Korea and China met on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

In 2014, the North fired two Rodong medium-range missiles just as the South Korean President and Japan’s Prime Minister were meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at The Hague to discuss responding to DPRK’s arms programme.

[Source: Reuters]

September 6, UN calls for stricter enforcement of sanctions on DPRK after it launches 3 missiles

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned DPRK’s launch of 3 ballistic missiles on September 5, in violation of UN sanctions, and threatened “further significant measures” if the Pyongyang regime continued its missile and nuclear weapons development work. It called on Member States to “redouble their efforts to implement fully” the sanctions that are currently in force.

Diplomats at the UN said that this latest rebuke of North Korea was agreed unusually quickly, reflecting China’s anger at the missile launch on Monday as President Xi Jinping was hosting the G20 summit in Hangzhou.

President Obama also indicated that the UN’s initial response will focus on stricter implementation of existing sanctions on North Korea, which he described as “the most intense sanctions regime ever”, rather than introducing new ones. The UN introduced strict new sanctions on North Korea in March, which imposed a range of trade and economic restrictions and targeted several new people and entities with asset freezes and travel bans.

The UN Security Council’s full press release is here.

[Source: The Guardian and European Sanctions]

September 9, DPRK announces nuclear ‘standardized’ warhead test

The DPRK claimed it had tested a ‘standardized’ nuclear weapon in response to the current sanctions against the country, during an announcement made on Korean Central Television today, Friday. The announcement, inter alia, said:

“As the nuclear warhead was standardized, we can now produce a variety of nuclear warheads with high striking power as much as we want and need.”

This was the DPRK’s fifth nuclear weapons test and the most powerful one to date, marking the 68th anniversary of the country’s founding. Commentators said it was a reminder to the world that the DPRK may be edging closer to developing a warhead capable of striking the U.S. mainland. The test (at 0930 Korea time), which triggered a magnitude 5.3 seismic event, drew immediate condemnation from North Korea’s neighbours and Washington.

[Source: The Guardian and NK News]

September 26, U.S. imposes sanctions on Chinese company and 4 employees linked to DPRK’s WMD programme

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated China-based Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Company Ltd (DHID), and 4 individuals connected to the company, for allegedly acting on behalf of Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation (KKBC), which was previously designated by the United States and the United Nations for providing financial services in support of DPRK’s WMD programmes. OFAC’s action was taken under U.S. Executive Order 13382 which targets WMD proliferators and their supporters.

DHID is said to have used an illicit network of front companies, financial facilitators, and trade representatives to facilitate transactions on behalf of KKBC. The four individuals were designated for acting for or on behalf of DHID. Alongside OFAC’s designations, the Department of Justice has unsealed criminal charges against DHID and the 4 designated employees, and issued civil forfeiture action for all funds in the 25 bank accounts owned by DHID.

In the U.S. Department of the Treasury press release announcing the sanctions, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin said that “DHID and its employees sought to evade U.S. and UN sanctions, facilitating access to the U.S. financial system by a designated entity”.

[Source: European Sanctions and U.S. Department of the Treasury]

September 27, U.S. pledges to block DPRK’s access to international banking infrastructure (SWIFT)

A day after affiliates of the Chinese HongXiang group were charged with illicit nuclear-related trades with DPRK, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said the U.S. government would shut down any international banking activities linked to DPRK’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programs.

Russel said he agreed with the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Matt Salmon, that the U.S. should impose financial sanctions on the North by cutting off specialized financial messaging services provided by the Belgium-based SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system.

However the problem for the U.S. is that SWIFT is an EU system and thus not under its direct control. However SWIFT previously abided by the EU Regulation 267/2012 which prohibited providing financial services to EU-sanctioned Iranian banks, so the U.S hopes that it will ultimately be able to reach an agreement that would further restrict DPRK’s access to SWIFT.

Russel also told the Committee that the U.S. would step up its surveillance with South Korean and Japanese counterparts in order to close loopholes, with a key focus on cutting off sources of bulk cash generated through the coal trade and also by North Korean workers in overseas countries.

[Source: NK News]

September 28, United Kingdom ‘expells’ two London-based officials of Korea National Insurance Company (KNIC)

Yonhap News Agency, citing a “diplomatic source”, reported that the UK had expelled two London-based officials of DPRK’s state insurance company that had been subject to European Union (EU) sanctions in 2015 and 2016. The two officials from the London office of the Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC) were effectively deported by refusing to renew their visas.

The EU listings of the Hamburg office of KNIC in 2015 and then the London office in 2016 was because “Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC), a State-owned and controlled company, is generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons-of-mass-destruction-related programmes. Furthermore, the KNIC headquarters Pyongyang is linked to Office 39 of the Korean Worker’s Party, a designated entity.” The Workers’ Party of Korea is the founding and ruling political party of the DPRK, and the largest party represented in the Supreme People’s Assembly.

In 2010 the US Treasury described Office 39 as “a secretive branch of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that provides critical support to North Korean leadership in part through engaging in illicit economic activities and managing slush funds and generating revenues for the leadership.”

[Source: Yonhap News Agency]

October 14, European Union (EU) expands ‘sensitive goods’ list of prohibited exports to DPRK, implementing UNSCR 2270

The EU implemented the UN Security Council Resolution 2270 decision to expand the list of ‘sensitive goods’ that it is prohibited to transfer to, procure for, or provide technical assistance in, in respect of the DPRK. The EU implementation of the new list is in Annex Ig of European Council (EC) Regulation 329/2007, as amended by European Commission (EU) Implementing Regulation 2016/1831.

[Source: European Sanctions]

October 15, DPRK makes failed missile test launch

DPRK conducted an unsuccessful launch of a medium-range missile, believed to be a Musadan capable of hitting U.S. targets as far away as Guam, according to U.S. military.

The launch was detected by the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) just after midday Saturday Korea time (15 October). The DPRK has now test-launched Musadan missiles seven times, with only one partial success so far.

[Source: Telegraph]

October 20, DPRK makes second (failed) missile test launch in a week

A failed missile test by DPRK, believed to be of a Musudan intermediate-range projectile, was reported by the U.S. military. The missile launch took place around 6:30 a.m. Pyongyang time Thursday (20 October), apparently from near Banghyon Airport in the northwestern city of Kusong. It was the country’s second failed missile launch in a week.

Like the missile launches before it, this latest was a further violation of UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting DPRK from using ballistic missile technology. Apart from the threat such technology poses to its neighbours, there is also concern about sales of DPRK missile technology to other countries, often countries which are also the target of UN sanctions.

[Source: CNN]

November 1, Sudan says it has ‘completely’ cut off its military and diplomatic ties with the DPRK

Sudan has cut military ties with the DPRK, according to a press release from South Korea’s Foreign Ministry.

During a visit to Seoul, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, said there was no longer any military or diplomatic cooperation with the DPRK. The Minister stressed that Sudan was thoroughly implementing UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on the DPRK.

Sudan’s military cooperation with the DPRK was revealed in 2011 by Wikileaks. The Wikileaks site published a leaked secret cable, sent from the State Department to the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum in February 2009, expressing concern over a weapons deal between Sudan and the DPRK.

It said that “in 2008, Sudan was negotiating a weapons deal with the North Korean government that included purchasing North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles, short-range missiles, and anti-tank missiles.”

In talking points to be used by embassy staff in discussions with Sudanese officials about the matter, the cable (correctly) noted that the “acquisition of ballistic missiles from North Korea would be a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1718, which bans the export of such goods by North Korea and requires Member States to prohibit the procurement of such items from North Korea, by their nationals.”

The final talking point said that “[G]iven the serious implications of cooperation with North Korea in the procurement of missiles or missile-related technology, we strongly urge Sudan not to engage in such missile activity with North Korea.”

[Source: NK News]

November 30, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2321, limits coal exports from DPRK

Resolution 2321 became the sixth sanctions resolution against the DPRK issued by the UNSC. The resolution imposes new sanctions on the DPRK in response to its nuclear test on 9 September 2016. The new sanctions measures involve mostly marginal changes to the previous sanctions resolution, 2270. The main innovation is the imposition of a $400 million cap on the “livelihood purposes” exemption for coal exports, a 60 percent reduction on the current $1 billion value of coal exported by the DPRK. The resolution also bans completely the export of non-ferrous metals such as copper, nickel, silver and zinc which together provided the DPRK with another $100 million a year in export income.

One unusual addition to the list of items banned from export by the DPRK are statues. These are often massive constructions in cast bronze and are estimated to have earned the DPRK around $160 million since 2000. Typical examples can be found in African countries such as Botswana (built by the North Korean company Mansudae), Senegal, DRC and Zimbabwe.

In an effort to further restrict the ability of the regime to transfer hard currency to/from the country, the resolution requires Member States to limit DPRK diplomatic missions to one bank account each. It has also imposed asset freezes and travel bans on a further 11 people and 10 entities for alleged ties to the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Other elements of UNSCR 2321 include:

  • Prohibiting the sale of new vessels and helicopters to DPRK;
  • Restricting travel to other countries by government and military officials “if they are determined to be associated with the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs or other prohibited activities”;
  • Calling on Member States to reduce the number of staff allowed at North Korean diplomatic missions and consular posts.

UNSC sanctions resolutions are deliberately framed to try to avoid adverse humanitarian consequences for the targeted country’s civilian population. However Rudiger Frank questions the likely impact of a $500 million cut in the DPRK’s income if the sanctions in resolution 2321 are robustly applied. He notes that, unless the UNSC believes that DPRK has always used 100 percent of its income from foreign trade for funding its nuclear and missile programmes, hard choices about import priorities – food or WMD – will have to be made by the regime. Seen in that context, he quotes the passage in the resolution about “Underlining also that measures imposed by this resolution are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK” and suggests it will sound “pretty cynical”.

[Main sources: PIIE and Bloomberg]

December 2, U.S. expands autonomous sanctions against DPRK

New regulations target officials, Air Koryo, and DPRK banks, among other entities. The new designations follow on from the unanimous adoption in the UN two days earlier of sanctions resolution 2321 against DPRK, as well as unilateral sanctions against the country imposed by Japan and South Korea.

The new targeted sanctions against DPRK financial, energy, labour exportation and transportation operations were announced in a Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) press release. OFAC’s latest blacklist includes 7 DPRK officials, 16 entities and 16 aircraft and comes in response to the North’s fifth nuclear test in September this year.

DPRK’s only commercial airline, Air Koryo, 16 of its aircraft and its foreign offices are included on the list. The press release identifies previously discovered cases of the airline’s involvement in a military parade and in transporting Scud-B missile parts, both in 2013.

DPRK’s Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP), the Korea General Corporation for External Construction, Namgang Construction and Korea Rungrado General Trading Corporation are all listed for exporting North Korean labor overseas as a means of earning revenue for the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

OFAC lists a reported 18 countries in which MOP operations were involved in this practice, 15 of them in Africa. MOP has also been linked in UN Panel of Experts (PoE) reports for its involvement in military-related construction in Namibia, which was not mentioned in the OFAC listings.

For “operating in the financial services industry in the North Korea economy,” OFAC designated five DPRK banks and the Korean National Insurance Corporation (KNIC).

[Main source: NK News]

December 2, Japan announces imposition of additional autonomous sanctions on DPRK

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of Cabinet ministers that Japan has “decided to carry out further sanctions in coordination with the United States and South Korea to comprehensively resolve the concerns of abductions (of foreign nationals) and nuclear and missile (development).”

The new autonomous sanctions include an expanded list of individuals and groups linked to DPRK nuclear or missile development projects whose assets in Japan are to be frozen. The sanctions also expand a list of people barred from re-entering Japan if they visit DPRK. The list includes officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, more commonly known as Chongryon. This organisation has effectively functioned for decades as DPRK’s embassy in Japan, in the absence of diplomatic relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang. A number of foreign engineers with expertise in nuclear and missile technology living in Japan will also be barred from re-entering Japan if they visit DPRK.

Earlier sanctions on shipping linked to DPRK will be strengthened. Ships registered in Japan that have stopped at ports in DPRK are to be prohibited from subsequently entering Japanese ports. This rule already applies to foreign-flagged vessels.

Shinzo Abe also raised the sensitive and unresolved issue of DPRK’s abduction of Japanese nationals as one of the threats presented by the country. Japan and DPRK announced in May 2014 that they had reached an accord in Stockholm on the guiding principles of negotiations toward the settlement of their outstanding issues. DPRK promised a full-scale investigation into the abductions of Japanese nationals, but disbanded its investigation team in February 2015.

[Main source: The Japan Times]

December 2, South Korea announces imposition of additional autonomous sanctions on DPRK

New and largely symbolic autonomous sanctions were imposed in coordination with Japan and the U.S. They blacklist dozens of new high-profile DPRK officials and entities by banning South Koreans from engaging in financial dealing with them.

Among the DPRK officials are Choe Ryong Hae, Vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the WPK and Hwang Pyong So, Director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), two of leader Kim Jong-un’s closest aides. Both visited Seoul in October 2014 with the late Kim Yang Gon for talks with the South.

The sanctions also target Air Koryo, the DPRK’s state airline, which has previously been used to fly officials for talks in the South. Seoul justified the measure by saying the airline was involved in transporting North Korean workers, cash, and “embargoed supplies.” South Korea also designated China’s Dandong HongXiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd. (DHID) and four people supporting the illicit financial activity of the DPRK’s Korea Kwangson Banking Corporation. Other blacklisted entities include those involved in coal exports and the dispatch of laborers abroad.

South Korea said it will also prohibit Seoul-based foreign nuclear and missile experts, including those working for local universities, from re-entering the country if they visit DPRK and commit activities that threaten South Korea’s national interest.

[Main sources: The Washington Post and NK News]

December 8, South Korea introduces new export controls on items used in submarine and ballistic missile construction and control

South Korea has introduced new export controls on 60 items used in the construction and operation of submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The controls are intended to cut-off DPRK’s access to the items, and cover areas that are not under the control of a pre-existing multilateral export control system. South Korea has said that it plans to share the new control list with the 41 member states of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms during the organisation’s regular meeting in Vienna later this month.

These new controls come less than a week after Seoul and Japan had introduced new autonomous sanctions aginst DPRK, mainly targeted at designated DPRK officials.

[Sources: European Sanctions and UPI]

December 11, Uganda announces disengagement with DPRK in “areas where sanctions apply”

The State Minister for International Relations Okello Oryem said Uganda had begun complying with UNSC sanctions resolutions regarding military cooperation. It has stopped the purchase of weapons from DPRK and also stopped the training of Uganda Air Force pilots by the North Koreans. The air forces of the two countries share a number of aircraft types, including the Mi-24/25 attack helicopter and the MiG-21 fighter jet.

Uganda, a long-time ally of DPRK, is one of a number of African countries that have maintained diplomatic and trade relations with DPRK despite UN sanctions. Uganda announced it would halt military and security exchanges with Pyongyang following a summit with the South Korean president Park Geun-hye during her tour of African countries in May 2016.

However the announcement does not mean complete disengagement with DPRK as the Minister added that “we have disengaged with North Korea [only] in areas [where] the UN sanctions apply. But our policy is that no one can choose for us [our] friends. We choose our friends and enemies.”

[Sources: Daily Monitor and NK News]

December 12, European Union (EU) adds new UN listings to its DPRK sanctions

The EU has implemented sanctions listings from UNSC Resolution 2321, the UN’s most recent sanctions listings relating to North Korea. It adds 11 people and 10 entities to the list of persons subject to an asset freeze and travel ban. It has also removed duplicate entries created by the addition of the new names to its UN-designations annex.

See Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/2215 amending Council Regulation 329/2007 and Council Decision 2016/2217 amending Council Decision 2016/849.

[Source: European Sanctions]

December 17, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee removes 5 ships from UN blacklist after assurances from China

The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee removed five ships from the UN list of designated vessels after securing assurances from China that the vessels would no longer use North Korean crews.

The ships were among 31 vessels sanctioned by the UN Security Council on March 2, 2016, when the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2270, because the vessels were linked to Ocean Maritime Management (OMM), a North Korean shipping firm known to transport arms and other illicit goods for the secretive state.

The Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee removed the five ships from the blacklist on Saturday for the formal reason that they “are not economic resources controlled or operated by Ocean Maritime Management Company, Limited and therefore not subject to the asset freeze.”

In a similar move soon after UNSCR 2270 was adopted, the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee agreed to a request from China to remove four ships from the original list of 31 after Beijing also secured assurances the ships would not use North Korean crews.

[Source: Reuters]

December 20, U.S. expands sanctions to implement provisions of UNSCR 2321 against DPRK diplomatic missions

UN Security Council Resolution 2321, adopted 30 November 2016, required among its provisions that Member States limit North Korean diplomatic missions to one bank account each, in an effort to prevent the DPRK from using them for illicit activities. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury updated its General Licence 1 (of March 16, 2016) [North Korean Mission to the United Nations and Employees of the United Nations] to require U.S. financial institutions to obtain specific licenses to operate accounts for, or extend credit to, the mission or to the employees of the mission, their families, or persons forming part of their household. The new General Licence 1-A can be found here.

[Source: European Sanctions]

2017

January 11, U.S. sanctions additional DPRK officials and regime entities

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated seven individuals and two entities of the DPRK regime in response to the regime’s “ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities”.

The seven individuals who were added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List include Kim Won Hong, the Minister of State Security who oversees the Ministry of State Security (MSS), Kim Yo Jong (the younger sister of Kim Jong-un) and Choe Hwi. These last two are Vice Directors of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD). PAD is DPRK’s primary agency responsible for both newspaper and broadcast censorship and for maintaining ideological purity.

OFAC’s press release announcing the additional designations says MSS is responsible for the abuse of human rights, including the torture and inhumane treatment of detainees during interrogation and in the country’s network of political prison camps. It notes that this inhumane treatment includes beatings, forced starvation, sexual assault, forced abortions, and infanticide. The press release goes on to say that Kim Won Hong plays a role directing the abuses perpetrated by the MSS and managing its day-to-day activities, including in the political prison camp system.

The two state entities identified by OFAC are the State Planning Commission and Ministry of Labor. The press release says that the Ministry of Labor “forcibly allocates individuals to specific sectors, including the mining sector, in accordance with the State Planning Commission’s labor allocation plans”.

[Source: OFAC]

January 16, South Korea threatens new sanctions if DPRK tests ICBM

The defence ministry in Seoul confirmed to the Financial Times on January 16 that the South Korean government has warned of a “stern” response and “stronger, watertight” sanctions on DPRK if it goes ahead with a planned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.

The warning followed a new year’s address by Kim Jong-un that claimed his country was nearly ready to launch a long-range ballistic missile. The development of an ICBM could give Pyongyang the capability to target the western seaboard of the U.S., roughly 10,000km away.

International sanctions on DPRK have been steadily tightened during the course of 2016 in response to a succession of nuclear and ballistic missile tests in violation of international law. UN Security Council Resolution 2321, agreed at the end of November 2016, imposed significant new restrictions on the export of coal and non-ferrous metals from DPRK as a response to its nuclear test on 9 September 2016.

[Sources: European Sanctions and Financial Times]

January 16, European Union (EU) de-lists 5 vessels from DPRK sanctions

On 17 December 2016, the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided that five vessels specified in Annex III to UNSCR 2270 (2016) are not economic resources controlled or operated by sanctioned entity Ocean Maritime Management and therefore not subject to the asset freeze imposed in operative paragraph 8(d) of UNSCR 1718 (2006).

In response to the 1718 Sanctions Committee decision the previous month, the EU de-listed the five vessels from its DPRK sanctions. See EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/80 of 16 January 2017 amending Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007 and Council Decision 2017/82 amending Council Decision 2016/849.

[Source: European Sanctions]

January 19, Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry awards $1 million in humanitarian aid for the DPRK to UNICEF

In a surprise move, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry awarded $1 million for North Korea to UNICEF on the day before President Donald Trump was sworn in and took over the U.S. government (20 January 2017).

It marked the first time that the U.S. has provided humanitarian assistance to the North since 2011, when it provided relief items including medical supplies to flood victims in the DPRK.

The current assistance comes in the aftermath of Typhoon Lionrock, which hit the DPRK in August 2016 with heavy rain that resulted in flooding. At the time, the government reported that 133 people had been killed and another 395 people were missing as a result of the floods which displaced over 100,000 people from their homes. More than 35,000 houses had been damaged out of which 24,000 had been totally destroyed. International aid organizations responded immediately.

[Sources: VOA News and NKhumanitarian Blog]

January 25, China announces ban on export of dual-use items and technology to DPRK

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a list of dual-use items and technologies that are prohibited from export to DPRK. The list of prohibited dual-use items and technologies are related to DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and conventional arms programmes.

The list was jointly released by five government agencies, including the Commerce Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the Atomic Energy Authority, the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), in order to “implement United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.” The announcement implements China’s dual-use obligations under the provisions of UNSCR 2321, adopted on November 30 in the wake of Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test in September.

[Source: NK News]

January 26, China challenged on whether it has fulfilled its UN obligations to limit imports of coal from DPRK

Beijing claimed it had fulfilled its UN obligations to limit imports of coal from DPRK, despite trade data from Chinese customs for 2016 showing otherwise. It added that China’s December (2016) imports of coal from DPRK were not in breach of UN resolutions intended to reduce that trade.

Over the first 10 months of 2016, according to Reuters, China imported 18.6 million tonnes of coal from DPRK, up almost 13 percent from a year ago. The South China Morning Post reported that in December 2016, imports jumped to 2 million tonnes, up 13 per cent from the same month a year earlier, and up from 1.9 million tonnes in November 2016, according to data from China’s General Administration of Customs. December’s imports were the second highest monthly total in 2016 after April. For the whole of year 2016, China imported 22.5 million tonnes of North Korean coal, up 14.5 per cent from 2015.

DPRK received $168 million for those exports, a figure over three times that allowed in UNSCR 2321.

According to Reuters, China’s Commerce Ministry had said on its website on 9 December that “to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2321, according to the People’s Republic of China’s Foreign Trade Law, imports of coal produced in North Korea temporarily will be stopped [from 11 December].” The Ministry added that the ban will be in effect until 31 December, although coal shipped before 11 December that was yet to arrive at Chinese customs would be exempt.

Commentators have pointed out that, if the data noted above is accurate, it implies that coal traders on both sides of the border worked especially hard during the first nine days of December, or that trade continued as normal despite the embargo from Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce and the UN Security Council.

China’s obligation over coal imports arises from UNSCR 2321 (November 2016) which put a cap on coal exports from DPRK to all UN Member States “not exceeding $53,495,894 or 1,000,866 metric tons, whichever was lower, between 30 November and 31 December; and $400,870,018 or 7,500,000 metric tons per year, whichever was lower, beginning on 1 January 2017.”

The cap on coal exports from DPRK mandated in UNSCR 2321 followed an earlier resolution, UNSCR 2270 (March 2016), that sought to limit or ban coal exports from DPRK, the country’s most valuable export commodity and one of its only sources of hard currency. UNSCR 2270 called on member states to stop importing coal if the revenues could be linked to the DPRK’s weapons programs. However a “livelihood” exception in the resolution allowed coal trade to continue, with Chinese imports apparently hitting record levels in August 2016, according to reports. China is believed to be the only country buying North Korean coal.

[Sources: Reuters, NK News and South China Morning Post]

February 12, DPRK successfully test launches a medium-range ballistic missile into Sea of Japan/East Sea

DPRK said it “successfully” test-fired a ballistic missile that flew 500km before coming down in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. It’s timing suggests it was a “show of force” by Pyongyang to Donald Trump. This latest missile test came a day after Trump held a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A U.S. official said the Trump administration had been expecting a North Korean “provocation” soon after taking office and will consider a full range of options in response, but they would be calibrated to show U.S. resolve while avoiding escalation.

The missile was fired from the same area where the country test-launched its powerful midrange missile the Musudan on 15 and 20 October 2016. DPRK state news agency KCNA described the device as a “surface-to-surface medium-to-long-range ballistic missile”. The missile, it said, named the Pukguksong-2, was a “new type strategic weapon system”. The missile used a solid-fuel engine which gives ballistic missiles greater range and means they can be readied for launch faster than liquid-fuel missiles. It was a new version of a missile test-fired from a submarine in August 2016 and not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the North has said it could test at any time.

Solid-fuel rockets can be launched at short notice without much preparation. But large solid-fuel motors are difficult to make work correctly so this is thought to be a significant advance by DPRK. In addition to launching more quickly, solid-fuel engines also boost the power and range of ballistic rockets. The test also verified a “feature of evading interception” and “the mobility and operation of the new type missile launching truck,” KCNA reported.

[Sources: Reuters, NK News and The Guardian]

February 13, UN Security Council (UNSC) strongly condemns DPRK’s ballistic missile launch

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launches conducted by the DPRK on 12 February 2017, as well as 20 October 2016. The closed door emergency meeting of the Security Council was called by Japan, the United States and South Korea.

Denouncing the launches as grave violations of the country’s international obligations, the Security Council also noted that such activities contribute to the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension. The statement “called upon all member states to redouble their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by the Security Council.”

The members of the Security Council further regretted that the DPRK is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while the country’s citizens “have great unmet needs.”

Expressing serious concern that the DPRK conducted these ballistic missile launches after the 15 April, 23 April, 27 April, 31 May, 21 June, 9 July, 18 July, 2 August, 23 August, 5 September, and 15 October launches [all in 2016], as well as the nuclear test of 9 September, in flagrant disregard of its repeated statements, the Council reiterated that the country shall refrain from further such actions.

The members of the Council agreed to continue close monitoring of the situation and to take further significant measures, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination. On 30 November 2016, the Security Council adopted resolution 2321 in response to DPRK’s nuclear test on 9 September. The resolution banned the export of most minerals and aimed to slash North Korea’s exports of coal, the country’s most important source of external income, by setting a cap on earnings designed to cost it $800 million a year.

[Sources: UN and The Telegraph]

February 13, China rejects a large coal shipment from DPRK after missile test

China rejected a large shipment of coal from the DPRK the day after it test-fired a ballistic missile in violation of international sanctions. The shipment of about 16,000 tonnes of North Korean coal, estimated to be worth around $1 million, was not allowed to be unloaded at a seaport in Wenzhou in China’s Zhejiang province. It was to be returned to the North’s western port of Nampo “according to sources.”

Although rejection of the shipment was stated to be due to a higher-than-permissible level of mercury contained in the coal, observers raised the possibility that the action may have been China’s show of displeasure with recent provocative actions by Pyongyang, as the rejection came just one day after the DPRK test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile despite international sanctions designed to stop such actions.

The rejection of this shipment will be a blow to the DPRK as coal exports are its largest source of income and China is its sole customer for its coal exports.

On November 30, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2321 in the wake of the DPRK’s fifth nuclear test in September 2016. The resolution placed a cap on coal purchases from the DPRK, a move aimed at making it harder for Pyongyang to earn money that could be exploited to advance its weapons capabilities. China joined the punitive action by suspending coal imports from the DPRK for three weeks in December 2016. However its coal purchases from the DPRK in December still jumped to 2 million tonnes, up 13 per cent from the same month a year earlier. For the whole of year 2016, China imported 22.5 million tonnes of North Korean coal, up 14.5 per cent from 2015.

[Source: Yonhap News Agency]

February 13, Half-brother of DPRK leader murdered at Kuala Lumpur airport

Kim Jong-nam, the North Korean leader’s half-brother, was killed by assailants in Kuala Lumpur believed to be linked to the DPRK. While this is not a sanctions-related story it is nonetheless of international interest and significance and may influence sanctions activity against the DPRK in the future.

The sources listed below are just a tiny sample from the massive media coverage in the days immediately following the assassination.

[Sources: Newsweek, BBC and CNN]

February 18, China to suspend all imports of coal from DPRK for rest of 2017

China’s Ministry of Commerce General Administration of Customs announced that the country will suspend all imports of coal from DPRK. This announcement is effective from 19 February 2017 and is valid until 31 December 2017.

The decision appears to be part of China’s efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the DPRK, in particular UNSCR 2270 (March 2016) and UNSCR 2321 (November 2016). The latter resolution placed a cap on the amount of coal that the DPRK can export each year. China is believed to be the only country importing coal from DPRK.

The ministry did not say why all shipments would be suspended but China has recently been challenged on whether it has fulfilled its UN obligations to limit imports of coal from DPRK. The decision may also be a sign of China’s increasing impatience with Pyongyang after the country successfully test launched a medium-range ballistic missile into Sea of Japan/East Sea on 12 February in violation of international sanctions. The day after that missile test, China had rejected a shipment of coal from the DPRK worth around $1 million and due to be unloaded at a port facility in Wenzhou on China’s eastern coast. The ship was forced to return to North Korea unloaded.

It should be noted that despite all the sanctions against the DPRK imposed by the UN, and despite the restrictions applied by China to implement those sanctions, DPRK remained China’s fourth biggest supplier of coal in 2016, with non-lignite imports reaching almost 22.5 million tonnes, up 14.5 percent compared to 2015.

[Source: Reuters]

February 27, European Union (EU) implements the sanctions set out in UNSCR 2321

UNSCR 2321 (November 2016) includes a cap on coal and iron ore exports from DPRK. Coal is the DPRK’s biggest earner of foreign currency as already noted in the timeline here and here. China is believed to be its only customer.

The European Union (EU) has implemented the sanctions set out in UNSCR 2321 by agreeing Council Regulation 2017/330 amending Council Regulation 329/2007. This latter regulation was the EU’s implementation of UNSCR 1718, the UN’s original sanctions resolution against the DPRK. The latest EU regulation follows Council Decision 2017/345 amending Council Decision 2016/849.

Among other measures, it establishes a mechanism which ensures that EU Member States that import coal from the DPRK periodically review the UN website to ensure that the total aggregate for imports of coal (the ‘cap’) has not been reached. It also prohibits:

  • the procurement directly or indirectly from the DPRK of gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore, rare-earth minerals, copper, nickel, silver and zinc;
  • the “procurement of statues” from the DPRK;
  • the supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of helicopters or vessels.

The latest EU regulation also tighten existing restrictions on DPRK, including by limiting North Korean diplomats to only one bank account in the EU, and requiring EU Member States to take further measures to prevent specialised training of North Korean nations in “disciplines which would contribute to the DPRK’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities and the development of nuclear-weapon delivery systems, including teaching or training in advanced physics, advanced computer simulation and related computer sciences, geospatial navigation, nuclear engineering, aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering and related disciplines, advanced materials science, advanced chemical engineering, advanced mechanical engineering, advanced electrical engineering and advanced industrial engineering.”

[Sources: Council Decision 2017/345 and European Sanctions]

March 1, Confidential UN report finds evidence of widespread sanctions evasion by DPRK

According to a new UN report, said the Chicago Tribune, the DPRK “is flouting sanctions through trade in prohibited goods, with evasion techniques that are increasing in scale, scope and sophistication.” The report was compiled by an eight-member panel which is chaired by a British national and includes experts from China, Russia, and the United States. The North Korean schemes are “combining to significantly negate the impact” of international sanctions.

The UN report’s findings suggest that China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with international efforts to sanction DPRK (see here and here), has instead served as the DPRK’s economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore, allowing Chinese-based front companies to conceal financial transactions that provide access to the international finance system, and serving as the primary hub for illicit trade that undermines a raft of UN sanctions that China nominally supports.

While there is no direct evidence that the Chinese government is actively supporting DPRK’s sanctions evading, it is hard to believe China is unaware of the illicit trade: “You have designated entities that have continued to operate in China. It’s not an accident. China’s security services are good enough to know who is doing what” inside their country said a former member of the UN sanctions panel on North Korea.

Although China has displayed goodwill in the UN Security Council by supporting a succession of sanctions resolutions aimed at curtailing the development of the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), it appears to have shown less commitment to enforcing those measures.

This is reflected in the report’s criticism of UN Member States for lacking the “political will” to back up the tougher sanctions on the DPRK that were introduced in UNSCR 2321 (November 2016) and for failing to commit the resources necessary for their effective implementation.

[Sources: Chicago Tribune and European Sanctions]

March 6, DPRK fires four missiles into sea near Japan

The DPRK fired four misiles [but see update below] shortly after 7.30am local time (2230 GMT Sunday, 5 March) from the Tongchang-ri region near its border with China. The missile launches were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Believed to be intermediate range types, these latest missiles flew about 620 miles (1,000km) before landing in the Sea of Japan/East Sea with three landing in Japan’s “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ), 186-217 miles (300-350km) from the Oga peninsula in Japan’s Akita prefecture. A fourth missile landed just outside the EEZ.

The DPRK had threatened to take “strong retaliatory measures” after South Korea and the United States began annual joint military exercises on 1 March that test their defensive readiness against possible aggression from the North. Pyongyang criticises the annual drills and has previously conducted missile launches to coincide with the exercises.

The 2016 “Operation Foal Eagle” U.S.-South Korean military exercises took place over an 8 week period between 7 March and 30 April. In the month preceding those exercises and while they were taking place, DPRK fired a long-range rocket from Tongchang-ri that put an object into orbit and carried out a series of 3 ballistic missile tests, two of which were land based launches (15 April, 27 April) and one submarine-launched (23 April).

Update March 22: Analysts now believe five missiles were launched but one failed (BBC News).

[Sources: The Guardian and Reuters]

March 22, DPRK’s latest missile launch appears to have ended in failure

Reports from the U.S. and ROK say DPRK’s land-based missile launch today appeared to have ended in failure. The missile, whose exact type had not been determined, appears to have exploded in midair seconds after launch. It was fired from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan. The news came three days after the North claimed a major breakthrough in its rocket development program.

This latest launch failure comes as the North is angrily reacting to ongoing annual U.S.-South Korean military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal. Earlier this month, North Korea fired four (plus a failed fifth) ballistic missiles that landed in waters off Japan, triggering strong protests from Seoul and Tokyo.

[Source: BBC News]

March 23, UN Security Council (UNSC) extends mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 Sanctions Committee on DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2345 (2017) under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter. The 15-member Council also decided that the Panel’s mandate should apply with respect to measures imposed in resolution 2321 (2016). The adoption is essentially a technical rollover of the mandate of the Panel.

The wording follows closely the language of the previous mandate renewal in resolution 2276 of March 24, 2016. The mandate is to be extended for 13 months (to April 24, 2018) and the Panel is expected to provide a midterm report to the 1718 Sanctions Committee no later than August 5, 2017 and a final report no later than February 1, 2018.

[Source: UNSC Press Release]

March 31, U.S. sanctions DPRK representatives in third countries and a coal company

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned one entity and 11 DPRK nationals in response to North Korea’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs).

The sanctioned individuals are said to be working as agents for the DPRK regime, its primary intelligence organisation (the Reconnaissance General Bureau) and other agencies, in China, Russia, Vietnam and Cuba. They have been providing financial support and shipping and procurement services for DPRK’s defence industries and its defence research and development, including its chemical weapons programme. Some of the sanctioned individuals have also been supporting Pyonyang’s military-related sales.

The OFAC press release listing the designated individuals and entities can be found here.

[Sources: European Sanctions and OFFAC Press Centre]

April 5, DPRK fires medium-range missile into sea near Japan

DPRK conducted a land-based ballistic missile test on the eve of a summit between Donald Trump, and China’s president, Xi Jinping that is expected to focus on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

What is believed to be a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile was launched from Sinpo, a port city on DPRK’s east coast, and flew about 60km (37 miles), before landing in the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

[Source: The Guardian]

April 6, European Union (EU) expands its ban on EU investment in, and service provision with, DPRK

The European Sanctions site reports that 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.”

There is an unusual lack of urgency in the application of these additional sanctions as their effect shall not apply until 9 July 2017, if the prohibited services are due under contracts, agreements or obligations that were concluded or arose prior to 8 April 2017.

“In addition, the Council [of the European Union] 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.

[Source: European Sanctions]

April 7, Japan renews autonomous sanctions against DPRK

The Japanese government has decided to extend unilateral sanctions against DPRK by two years, Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko announced. Tokyo will continue its prohibition of all trade between Japan and DPRK and ban on all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports.

Japan had previously extended autonomous sanctions against the DPRK on 31 March, 2015, citing at the time a lack of progress in talks on abducted Japanese nationals. Japan’s autonomous sanctions were first imposed in 2006 following DPRK’s missile tests in July of that year.

[Source: SBS News, Australia]

April 15, DPRK launches ballistic missile but test ends in failure

DPRK unsuccessfully tested a ballistic missile which blew up almost immediately after launch. The land-based missile, which was not thought to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), was launched from the eastern coastal city of Sinpo, which is also the site of a submarine base and where DPRK has tested the submarine-launched ballistic missile it is developing.

The unsuccessful test launch came just a day after a huge military parade in Pyongyang to mark the birth anniversary of founder Kim Il-sung and just hours before the U.S. vice-president was due to arrive in Seoul.

[Source: The Guardian]

April 20, UN Security Council strongly condemns DPRK’s recent failed ballistic missile launch

The UN Security Council (UNSC) has strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launch conducted by the DPRK on 15 April as a “highly destabilizing behaviour and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council.” It threatended to “take further significant measures, including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination.”

In its statement the UNSC demanded that “the DPRK shall immediately cease further actions in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions.”

[Source: UN Security Council Press Statement]

April 23, United Kingdom freezes assets of London office of Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC)

It was reported that the UK has frozen the assets of the Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC) based in south-east London after claims it funnelled cash to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme. The asset freeze had not been confirmed by the UK government but a spokesman for HM (Her Majesty’s) Treasury said “We cannot comment on individual cases. However, the UK has fully complied and implemented the UN sanctions regime in relation to North Korea and North Korean companies.”

The UK branch of KNIC was placed under European Union (EU) sanctions in March 2016 and action to expell two key official from the UK had been taken in September 2016. The firm had operated without challenge in the UK for more than two decades and is feared to have generated tens of millions of pounds by investing and trading in property and foreign currencies. It has separately been accused of making vast sums of money through fraudulent claims against London insurers. According to a defector from the DPRK the insurance scam worked as follows: “There is only one state-owned insurance company, so that even if it fabricates an accident, there is no way to verify its claims…. After purchasing international insurance or reinsurance for state infrastructure, documents are forged (on alleged accidents), which earns the state tens of millions of dollars a year.”

[Sources: The Times and The Guardian]

April 26, U.S. to adopt strategy of sanctions and “strongarm diplomacy” against DPRK

The Trump administration has said it is aiming to pressure DPRK to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs by tightening sanctions while opening channels for negotiations with Pyongyang. The statement was released following an unusual White House-hosted briefing for the entire U.S. Senate. Senators who attended the briefing said no military option was presented as the U.S. prioritises sanctions and strongarm diplomacy.

A statement the following day (April 27) from the South Korean president’s office said Seoul and Washington had agreed “to swiftly take punitive measures, including a new UN security council resolution, that are unbearable for the North” in the event of more provocation.

[Sources: The Guardian and European Sanctions]

May 4, U.S. House of Representatives agrees new sanctions on DPRK

The Republican dominated House of Representatives approved new sanctions on DPRK targeting its shipping industry and use of ‘slave labor’. Lawmakers approved the measure on a 419-1 vote. The Bill can only come into force after approval by the Senate and with the signture of the President.

The bipartisan legislation is aimed at cutting off access to the cash the DPRK needs to follow through with its plans. The bill bars ships owned by DPRK, or by countries that refuse to comply with U.N. resolutions against it, from operating in American waters or docking at U.S. ports. Goods produced by DPRK’s ‘forced labor’ would be prohibited from entering the United States, according to the legislation. The Bill states that anyone who uses the ‘slave labor’ that DPRK exports to other countries would be subject to sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

One of the Bills sponsors, Republican Ed Royce (California), said companies from Senegal to Qatar to Angola import North Korean workers, who send their salary back to Pyongyang, earning the regime billions of dollars in hard currency each year. “This is money that Kim Jong-un uses to advance his nuclear and missile program, and also pay his generals, buying their loyalty to his brutal regime,” he said. “That is what the high-level defectors that I meet with say. So let’s squeeze his purse.”

[Sources: U.S. News and European Sanctions]

May 14, DPRK launches a ballistic missile, possibly of a new type

DPRK state media (KCNA) declared the country had successfully conducted tests of a newly developed mid-to-long range missile. The test was aimed at verifying the missile’s ability to carry “a large-size heavy nuclear warhead”. KCNA said the missile was launched at the highest angle so as not to affect the security of neighbouring countries. It flew 787 kilometres, reaching an altitude of 2,111.5 kilometres, before landing in the sea near Russia.

The missile launch came after Pyongyang indicated it was open to talks with the South on its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

The new President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, called the launch a “reckless provocation” after holding an emergency meeting with his national security advisers, adding that it was a “clear violation” of UN security council resolutions banning missile tests.

The U.S. Pacific Command confirmed a missile had been launched from a site in Kusong, north-west of the capital Pyongyang, but added that “the flight is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”

[Sources: The Guardian and Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News]

May 21, DPRK confirms it “successfully” launched another medium-range ballistic missile

DPRK has confirmed it “successfully” launched another medium-range ballistic missile. The state-run KCNA news agency said the weapon was now ready to be deployed for military action.

The White House said the missile had a shorter range than those used in North Korea’s last three tests.

It comes a week after DPRK tested what it said was a new type of rocket capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

[Source: BBC]

May 22, UN Security Council (UNSC) strongly condemns the most recent ballistic missile launch conducted by DPRK

The members of the UN Security Council strongly condemned the most recent ballistic missile launch conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on 21 May 2017, describing it as “highly destabilizing behaviour and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council … in violation of its international obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016).” The UN Security Council again demanded that Pyongyang conduct no further such tests.

Its members agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination. It stressed the importance of North Korea “immediately showing sincere commitment to denuclearisation through concrete action”.

The Council was scheduled to meet behind closed doors on May 23 – a meeting requested by the U.S., South Korea and Japan.

[Source: UN Security Council Press Statement]

May 29, DPRK launches at least one short-range ballistic missile that lands in the sea near Japan

DPRK fired at least one short-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea off its east coast. The U.S. Pacific Command said the missile was launched from Wonsan in and flew for about six minutes before landing.

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that the missile landed in an area between Japan’s Sado and Oki islands, in their exclusive economic zone.

The missile was believed to be a Scud-class ballistic missile and flew about 450km (280 miles), South Korean officials said. DPRK has a large stockpile of the short-range missiles, originally developed by the Soviet Union. Modified versions of the Scud missiles can have a range of 1,000km (600 miles).

This was its third such test in little over three weeks. It followed two successful tests of medium- to long-range missiles – see here and here. DPRK has fired 12 missiles during nine tests so far in 2017, (compared with 10 missile launches in the same time period in 2016, according to CNN. This link provides some useful technical information, charts, etc., about DPRK missile technology and tests.) These recent tests suggests Pyongyang is stepping up the pace in an effort to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the mainland United States.

The first of those launches was hailed by Pyongyang as a new type of rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead – it was a demonstration of DPRK’s longest-range nuclear-capable weapon yet – and suggests DPRK is showing its determination to push ahead in the face of international pressure to rein in its missile program and “to pressure the (South Korean) government to change its policy on the North”, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Roh Jae-cheon said.

These three ballistic missile tests have been made since South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10 pledging to engage with the reclusive neighbor in dialogue.

Moon says sanctions alone have failed to resolve the growing threat from the North’s advancing nuclear and missile program.

[Sources: BBC and Reuters]

June 1, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, targeting both Russian and DPRK individuals and entities associated with DPRK’s WMD programs

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has updated its Special Designated Nationals (SDN) list, designating six entities and three individuals, and identified three entities, in response to DRRK’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions. OFAC said the actions target DPRK’s military, nuclear, and WMD programs, its revenue from labor, coal, and minerals, as well as its overseas financial operations.

Among the entities and individuals designated by OFAC is Moscow-based Ardis-Bearings LLC and its director, Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin, for their support to UN- and U.S.-designated Korea Tangun Trading Corporation (Tangun). Tangun is subordinate to the Second Academy of Natural Sciences and was designated in 2009 for its involvement in North Korea’s WMD and missile programs. Ardis-Bearings LLC is a company that provides supplies to Tangun, and Michurin is a frequent business partner of Tangun officials in Moscow according to OFAC.

OFAC has also designated the Korea Computer Center (KCC), a state-run IT research and development center, which generates revenue through software development and programming, including DPRK’s “Red Star” operating system. The KCC is reported to have overseas locations in Germany, China, Syria, India, and the Middle East. According to the OFAC press release, as of 2014, KCC allegedly earned foreign currency for the UN- and U.S.-designated Munitions Industry Department, which is responsible for overseeing the country’s ballistic missiles.

Other designations in this latest SDN list update include entities and individuals involved in the coal, petroleum and mineral trades and an individual who has reportedly established several front companies in order to procure items and conduct financial transactions on behalf of DPRK. More details in the press release and the SDN List Update below.

[Sources: OFAC Press Center and OFAC Specially Designated Nationals List Update]

June 2, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2356 extending number and scope of sanctions against DPRK

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2356 (2017) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter to extend the number of individuals and entities targeted by sanctions first imposed under resolution 1718 (2006) – an asset freeze and travel ban for those involved in the DPRK’s nuclear-weapons programme.

The Council condemned, in the strongest terms, Pyongyang’s recent nuclear-weapon and ballistic-missile-development activities, including a series of launches and other related activities conducted since 9 September 2016, in violation and “flagrant disregard” of various relevant Council resolutions.

Following the adoption, the representative of the United States (Nikki Haley) –  the resolution’s sponsor – said the Council’s unity sent a strong message to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: “Stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences.” In her speech, she said that the United States supported a diplomatic resolution of the dispute but all options nevertheless remained on the table, adding that her country would defend itself “by other means if necessary”.

For its part, China’s representative (Liu Jieyi) expressed support for the “double strengthening” of the non-proliferation regime and for promoting peace through dialogue. It was incumbent upon all sides to exercise restraint and build mutual trust, he said, calling attention to China’s “suspension-for-suspension” proposal, which called for suspending Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile activities, as well as large-scale military exercises by the United States and the Republic of Korea.

The resolution designated a further 14 individuals and 4 entities.

[Source: UN Security Council Press Statement]

June 8, DPRK launches multiple missiles believed to be short-range anti-ship cruise missiles

DPRK launched multiple missiles towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea) from near the eastern coastal city of Wonsan in Gangwon Province, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The missiles were presumed to be short-range anti-ship cruise missiles, and that they flew around 200km with a “maximum altitude” of 2km. Because of the low altitude trajectory of this particular type of missile, the JCS said that the test-firing did not violate the UN Security Council resolutions which specifically ban high-altitude ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development.

These test launches represents the 10th so far by DPRK in 2017, and the fourth since Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10. The previous missile launch, which took place on May 28, saw the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopt Resolution 2356 against the DPRK.

[Source: NK News]

June 9, European Union (EU) implements latest UN sanctions resolution (2356) against DPRK

The EU published its implementing measures for UN Security Council Resolution 2356. They 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.

[Main Source: European Sanctions Blog]

June 13, European Union (EU) updates persons and entities on its DPRK sanctions list

The EU has updated its DPRK list of sanctions:

  1. against persons and enities responsible for the DPRK’s WMD programmes, removing 2 people and adding 4 new people and also removing 2 entities. Most notable of the changes to this list is the removal of Pyon Yong Rip who had been listed for being President of the Academy of Science, involved in WMD-related biological research. Pyon Yong Rip has been replaced as president of the Academy of Science.
  2. against persons and entities providing financial services that could contribute to the DPRK’s WMD programmes, removing two entities and changing the information relating to the designation of Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC).

According to the European Sanctions site of Maya Lester QC and Michael O’Kane, KNIC has a case pending in the General Court of the European Union to challenge its designation. The EU (currently including the UK) and the U.S. designations of KNIC relate to allegations that KNIC is generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could contribute to the DPRK’s WMD programmes (see this timeline’s entries here, here, here and here)

See also Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/993 amending Council Regulation (EC) 329/2007 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/994 amending Council Decision 2016/849.

[Source: European Sanctions]

June 22, 27, Australia expands sanctions (both autonomous and those under UN Charter) against the DPRK

On 28 February 2017, the Minister for Foreign Affairs announced a proposed expansion of Australia’s autonomous sanctions against the DPRK, in response to its nuclear and ballistic missile activities. Unlike in the UK, these proposals went out for public consultation. Following this process, the proposed measures have now been implemented by the Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2017 [published June 27] and the Autonomous Sanctions (Classes of Sanctioned Vessels–Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Designation 2017 [published June 22].

The expanded autonomous sanctions include:

  • Prohibited services: the supply of services to ‘extractive or related industry in the DPRK’;
  • Prohibited commercial activity: any commercial activity directed at ‘extractive or related industry in the DPRK’;
  • Designation of the ‘DPRK vessel class’: provides authority to the Minister for Foreign Affairs to direct any vessel within the DPRK vessel class to leave Australia (including by a particular route) or not enter a particular port or place (or any port or place) in Australia;
  • Additional grounds for designations and declarations: provides authority to the Minister for Foreign Affairs to designate for targeted financial sanctions and/or declare for travel bans persons and entities:
    • that the Minister is satisfied has been associated with the DPRK’s weapons of mass-destruction program or missiles program (previously the Minister had to be satisfied that the person or entity is associated with the DPRK’s weapons of mass-destruction program or missiles program); and
    • that the Minister is satisfied is assisting, or has assisted, in the violation, or evasion, by the DPRK of certain United Nations Security Council Resolutions that relate to the DPRK and subsequent resolutions relevant to those resolutions.

A separate new measure, the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions–Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Amendment (2017 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2017, [published June 27] expands, and makes changes to, sanctions under the existing Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions–Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2008.

These changed/expanded UN Charter sanctions include:

  • Additional prohibited activities implementing UNSC resolution 2321. From 5 August 2017, the following activities are prohibited:
    • the export of new helicopters and new vessels to the DPRK (that are not arms or related materiel) without a permit;
    • the import of copper, nickel, silver, zinc from the DPRK;
    • the import of statues from the DPRK without a permit;
    • the procurement of vessel and aircraft crewing services from the DPRK; and
    • engaging in scientific and technical cooperation involving persons or groups officially sponsored by the DPRK, or representing the DPRK (but not including medical exchanges) without a permit.
  • Changes in relation to the supply of aviation fuel implementing UNSC resolutions 2270 and 2321. Applies from 6 July 2017.
  • Changes in relation to coal, iron and iron ore imports implementing UNSC resolution 2321. Applies from 5 August 2017.
  • Changes in relation to certain activities in respect of vessels implementing UNSC resolutions 2270 and 2321. Applies from 5 August 2017.
  • Changes in respect of public or private financial support for the purposes of trade with the DPRK implementing UNSC resolution 2321. Applies from 5 August 2017.
  • Changes in respect of dealings with designated persons or entities and in respect of controlled assets. Applies from 5 August 2017.
  • Other consequential changes relating to the new UNSC resolutions 2270 and 2321.

For complete details of all the above see the briefing note at the link in the next line.

[Source: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)]

June 23, FATF calls on its members to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing risks emanating from the DPRK

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). It called on its members to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the on-going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/FT) risks emanating from the DPRK.

FATF expressed concern over the DPRK’s continuing failure to address the significant deficiencies in its regime for countering money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and said this poses a “serious risk” to the integrity of the international financial system.

The FATF press release called on financial institutions in member states to give extra attention to business relationships and transactions with the DPRK, including DPRK companies, financial institutions and those acting on their behalf. In addition to enhanced scrutiny, the FATF also called on its members to apply effective counter-measures, including targeted financial sanctions, in accordance with applicable United Nations Security Council Resolutions. This is necessary, it said, to protect their financial sectors from the risks emanating from the DPRK through its money laundering, financing of terrorism and WMD proliferation financing (ML/FT/PF) activities.

[Main Sources: FATF and European Sanctions]

June 27, Latvia fines three local banks for failing to prevent their clients from using them to circumvent sanctions on DPRK

Latvia’s banking regulator has fined 3 Latvian banks, Regionala Investiciju Banka, Privatbank, and Baltikums Bank, for failing to prevent their clients from using them to circumvent sanctions on DPRK [in the period 2009–2016]. The investigation was conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Treasury and the FBI’s Counterproliferation Center.

The Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC), said in a statement that “several customers of the banks, making use of offshore companies and complicated chain transactions, transferred funds from their bank accounts to circumvent international sanctions requirements against North Korea”. Privatbank and Baltikums bank were both fined €35,575 for having weaknesses in their customer due diligence and transaction monitoring systems, Regionala was fined €570,364 and warnings were issued to its compliance team for weaknesses in its compliance systems and failing to ensure they were functioning correctly.

[Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

June 27, Australia amends its DPRK autonomous sanctions regulations

See related entry for June 22.

The Autonomous Sanctions Regulations 2011 (the Principal Regulations) facilitate the conduct of Australia’s relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and with specific entities or persons outside Australia, through the imposition of autonomous sanctions in relation to the DPRK, and through targeting those entities or persons. It is amended from time to time.

On this date the Autonomous Sanctions Amendment (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) was made. It amended the Principal Regulations by imposing additional sanctions in respect of the DPRK in accordance with the media releases of the Minister for Foreign Affairs dated 2 December 2016 [refers to UNSCR 2321 which included a binding cap on coal exports from the DPRK] and 28 February 2017.

[Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Australian Federal Register of Legislation – Explantory Statement]

June 29, U.S. Treasury (OFAC) adds 2 Chinese persons and 1 Chinese entity to its list of DPRK sanctions designations

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has updated its Special Designated Nationals (SDN) list, designating one entity and two individuals, all from PRC, in response to DRRK’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions.

The entity [Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., Ltd.] and one person [Sun Wei] were designated under the “Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations,” 31 C.F.R. part 544, the other person [Li Hong Ri] under Executive Order 13722 of March 15, 2016 “Blocking Property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to North Korea.” More details and information about the designations can be found in the source – see below – and The Telegraph which said of the targeted enity and the two individuals that:

  • Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., Ltd. is accused by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and DPRK. It cited a UN expert panel as saying the company had violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North.
  • Chinese national Sun Wei is said to have been running a cover company for DPRK’s Foreign Trade Bank, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions; and
  • Chinese national Li Hong Ri is said to have cooperated with Ri Song-hyok, a U.S.-designated Beijing-based DPRK official for U.S.-designated Koryo Bank and Koryo Credit Development Bank, to establish a number of front companies used to procure items and conduct financial transactions on behalf of DPRK.

[Sources: OFAC Press Center and The Telegraph]

June 29, U.S. Treasury (FinCEN) proposes blocking access of a Chinese bank, Bank of Dandong, to the U.S. financial system

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, to prohibit covered U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining a correspondent account in the United States for, or on behalf of, Bank of Dandong. This, in essence, means that U.S. banks would be required to ensure that Bank of Dandong does not access the U.S. financial system directly or indirectly through other foreign banks. The proposed rule is subject to a 60-day review.

FinCEN found that Bank of Dandong is a financial institution of primary money laundering concern because it serves as a conduit for DPRK to access the U.S. and international financial systems, including by facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in DPRK’s WMD and ballistic missile programmes. In particular, FinCEN said, in early 2016 Korea Kwangson Banking Corp. (KKBC) and a front company for Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. (KOMID) maintained multiple bank accounts with Bank of Dandong. The UN describes KOMID, which it has sanctioned, as DPRK’s principal arms dealer.

The bank is based in the northeastern border city of Dandong, through which the bulk of DPRK’s trade with China flows. Although the Bank of Dandong is small, with five branches, 1,570 staff, and assets of 72.3 billion yuan ($10.66 billion), according to the U.S. Treasury, Pyongyang has used it as a key conduit to the U.S. financial system.

One Chinese analyst based in Beijing believes that major state-owned banks and shipping companies in China have strictly implemented the sanctions, but that smaller ones may seek opportunities to make money wherever they can.

Editor’s Note: China has the will and the resources to closely monitor and control its people and the Internet. It is surprising that it cannot find the will to control the relatively small number of Chinese banks and businesses that break UN sanctions against DPRK.

[Sources: FinCEN, European Sanctions and The Japan News]

July 4, DPRK claims successful test of an ICBM capable of striking U.S. mainland

DPRK claims to have conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) able to strike the U.S. mainland. However U.S. military sources said that the DPRK had test-fired an intermediate-range weapon [subsequently acknowledged to be an ICBM] and that data suggested the missile has the range to strike Hawaii and Alaska but not the lower parts of the continental U.S.

It was noted that, while the apparent advancement in DPRK’s missile technology will add to concerns that the regime is moving closer to developing the capacity to strike the U.S. mainland, many analysts still doubt whether it can miniaturise a nuclear weapon sufficiently to fit it as a warhead on a missile. They also believe the regime is unlikely to have mastered the technology needed for the warhead to survive the re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

According to South Korea’s military, the missile was launched from Banghyon in North Pyongan, a province near DPRK’s border with China, and landed in the Sea of Japan/East Sea within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Tokyo strongly protested against what it called a clear violation of UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from developing ballistic missile technology.

It was the DPRK’s 11th missile launch in 2017 and its timing may have been significant. It fell on the eve of the U.S. Independence Day holiday and just before the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. It also came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump met the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, in Washington, and held telephone discussions dominated by Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes with Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

The launch came just hours after China’s ambassador to the United Nations warned of “disastrous” consequences if world powers fail to find a way to ease tensions with DPRK that risked getting “out of control.”

“Currently tensions are high and we certainly would like to see a de-escalation,” Liu Jieyo told a news conference at UN headquarters, where China holds the security council presidency this month. “If tension only goes up … then sooner or later it will get out of control and the consequences would be disastrous.”

[Source: The Guardian]

July 4, European Union (EU) supports call for UN Security Council sanctions against DPRK and considers additional autonomous sanctions

Following claims by DPRK to have successfully tested an ICBM, the EU’s High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, said the EU will discuss with Foreign Ministers of international partners the possibility of further U.N. Security Council sanctions against DPRK as called for by the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in. The EU will also consider apllying additional autonomous sanctions.

The EU statement (see source below) also called on DPRK to abandon its ballistic missile programmes and to engage in a credible dialogue with the international community aimed at pursuing the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

[Source: EU statement]

July 6, EU-Japan summit condemns DPRK’s ballistic missile launch, calls for speedy resolution of Japanese abductions’ issue

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker strongly condemned DPRK’s continued nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, including the recent launch of a ballistic missile of possible intercontinental range. In a joint statement isued at the 24th EU-Japan Summit they called for the early adoption of “a new and comprehensive UN Security Council Resolution” aimed at further restricting the transfer of relevant items and technologies and funding for DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

They also called on DPRK to immediately and fully comply with its international obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and thus abandon all nuclear, other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and ballistic missile programmes.

Reflecting individual concerns of the European Union and Japan, they said in the concluding paragraph that DPRK must “further promptly address the international community’s humanitarian and human rights concerns, including through speedily resolving the [Japanese] abductions’ issue.”

Editor’s Note: The abduction’s issue has been a sanctions problem unique to Japan that has been seen as a potential “wedge issue” that could be used by DPRK to separate Japan from its allies in sanctions discussions.

[Source: EU-Japan Summit Statement]

July 6, Australia activates previously announced sanctions on the supply of aviation fuel, implementing UNSC resolutions 2270 and 2321

See Australia’s June 2017 sanctions entry.

July 17, European Union (EU) updates sanctions against DPRK

The EU has amended the entries for 3 entities subject to its sanctions on DPRK, namely Namchongang Trading Corporation, Green Pine Associated Corporation, and Strategic Rocket Force of the Korean People’s Army. It has also deleted the entries for Pak To-Chun, Paek Se-bong, and Strategic Rocket forces from its annexes containing autonomous EU listings, because they are now listed by the UN since June (see above).

See Commission Implementing Regulation 2017/1330 amending Council Regulation 329/2007 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1339 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849. The UK’s notice is here.

[Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

July 28, DPRK claims second successful test of an ICBM capable of striking U.S. mainland

DPRK launched its second intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) inside of a month. The timing of this test was probably significant, occurring a day after the 64th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement, a day DPRK calls “Victory Day.” Media sources in the country say the missile was another Hwasong-14, the same type tested on July 4. It is reported that this test improved on the last one and suggests the missile has the capability of reaching most of continental United States.

The missile was fired from Jagang province at 11.41 pm (KST), the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. It flew over 1000km towards Japan on a lofted trajectory. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary claimed the missile was in flight for 45 minutes, and may have landed within 230km of the Japanese coast, in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

This was the 12th missile launch of 2017, including Pyongyang’s test on May 27 of a “new-type anti-aircraft guided weapon system”, designated as the NK-06 by the U.S. Department of Defense.

If these missile launches are an indication of increased military strength, then the U.S. needs to rethink its strategy when dealing with DPRK, notes a U.S. Korea specialist. “The stronger they get, the harder it becomes for us to convince [DPRK] that this is not the road they want to go down,” says Jenny Town, the assistant director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at John Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. She says with each improvement, the U.S. and its allies lose leverage with the North.

“Anytime the U.S. goes on a campaign that’s really driven by pressure and isolation and this idea of sanctions not only against North Korea but against China … is really misconstrued,” Town says.

She says a policy of increasing pressure is having the opposite of the intended effect, since she says it plays into North Korea’s hands. Domestically, Pyongyang uses all the sanctions slapped on it as evidence to show the U.S. is quote “hostile.” This, Town argues, justifies its need for nuclear weapons.

“So they’re going to continue down the path of developing their nuclear deterrent and WMD capabilities in order to ensure that their regime survives,” says Town.

[Sources: National Public Radio and NK News]

August 2, U.S. President signs bill imposing new sanctions measures on Russia, Iran and DPRK

Donald Trump has grudgingly approved a package of new sanctions on Russia that limits his own authority to reverse or relax them, signing the bill behind closed doors and voicing strong objections to the measures.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill that would levy new sanctions on Russia, Iran and DPRK. It combines new measures targeting Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, as well as provisions intended to curb DPRK’s nuclear weapons program and Iranian militarism. An earlier Senate version of the bill passed 98-2, but was only aimed at Russia and Iran. It did not include the expanded sanctions against DPRK.

Trump had little choice but to sign the bill since it was passed by overwhelming majorities in both the House of Representatives (419-3) and the Senate (98-2), so a presidential veto would have been easily overturned by a Congress that is wary of Trump’s ties to Moscow.

The U.S. may target Chinese companies as part of the new sanctions against DPRK. It will be a difficult balancing act for the U.S. administration as China is both a key ally for bringing pressure to bear on Pyongyang, and also a major potential target for sanctions designed to limit North Korean trade and imports.

For their part, the Chinese see mixed messages from Washington with U.S. strategy only making sense to China if the ultimate U.S. objective is to bring about regime change through a comprehensive economic embargo. This is a big concern for China but the U.S. State Department denies pursuing such a course. Tong Zhao, an analyst at the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, observed that apparent contradiction between statements and action causes confusion, and added that China and the U.S. “need to stop focusing on debating the specific tactics” and instead focus on overall strategy and goals with regard to DPRK.

Even as Washington expands sanctions measures against DPRK, some analysts argue they won’t have much effect. “If Kim and his generals have to tighten their belts, the nuclear and missile programs are about the last things they will cut,” John Delury, an expert at the Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul, wrote for CNN Opinion in December 2016.

“On the contrary, in the absence of diplomatic talks and under intensified pressure, Pyongyang is likely to double-down on its nuclear deterrent, which it sees as its best guarantee of national security and regime survival.”

[Sources: CNN Politics and The Guardian]

August 5, UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopts resolution 2371 which includes a ban on exports worth more than $1bn

The UN Security Council further strengthened its sanctions regime against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It condemned in the strongest terms that country’s to recent ballistic missile launches (see here and here) and reaffirmed its decision that Pyongyang shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

The UN-approved sanctions include a ban on exports of coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore which together are worth more than $1bn in hard currency to the DPRK. China was DPRK’s biggest customer for coal but in February it had already suspended coal imports for the rest of 2017. The sanctions imposed by UNSCR 2371 are expected to take a huge bite out of DPRK’s total exports, valued at $3bn in 2016.

Countries are also banned from increasing the number of permits/authorisations for North Korean labourers whose employment provides another source of money for the regime. New joint ventures with North Korean companies and foreign investment in existing ones are also banned.

Nine North Koreans, mainly officials or representatives of companies and banks, have been added to the UN sanctions blacklist, banning travel and freezing assets. An asset freeze has also been imposed on two companies and two banks. The resolution also requests that the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) issue special notices with respect to designated individuals.

The US-drafted sanctions were negotiated with China, DPRK’s chief ally, and are aimed at making Pyongyang return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs. China urged DPRK not to provoke the international community with further missile or nuclear tests and warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula is entering “a very critical phase”. Speaking a day after the UN security council vote, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, said he hoped the move would help DPRK’s leaders make “the right and smart decision” about their weapons programme. “Do not violate the UN decision or provoke the international community’s goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests,” Wang said he had told DPRK’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, when they met on the sidelines of a security forum in Manila.

As in earlier sanctions resolutions, UNSCR 2371 reaffirmed that its provisions were not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK, and that the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), on a case-by-case basis, exempt from sanctions those activities that would facilitate the work of international and non-governmental organisations engaged in assistance and relief activities for civilian benefit. This does not, of course, deny the adverse ongoing impact of sanctions on the civilian population of DPRK.

Editor’s Note: Maya Lester QC observes in her European Sanctions pages that UNSCR 2371 has for the first time involved INTERPOL in DPRK sanctions. The resolution (at paragraph 23) asks INTERPOL to issue Special Notices which alert national law enforcement authorities that particular sanctions apply to designated people and entities. She notes that these Special Notices were first introduced to support the UN’s anti-terrorism sanctions, but have since been expanded to several other regimes including DRC, CAR, Sudan, and now North Korea.

[Sources: UN Press Release and The Guardian]

August 5, Australia activates previously announced sanctions on vessels and designated persons/entities, continuing implementation of UNSC resolutions 2270 and 2321

See Australia’s June 2017 sanctions entry.

August 10, European Union (EU) implements new UN listings as part of update of sanctions against DPRK

The Council of the EU has added 9 persons and 4 entities – including the state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) – to the lists of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restrictions. This implements the persons/organisation designation parts of the new sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2371 (2017).

The decision brings the total number of persons under restrictive measures against the DPRK to 62 persons and 50 entities as listed by the UN. In addition, 41 persons and 7 entities are designated by the EU autonomously.

The Council’s press release says it will work on the swift transposition of the other sanctions that are part of UN security Council resolution 2371. These include bans on the export of coal, iron ore and seafood by DPRK. See Implementing Regulation 2017/1457 amending Regulation 329/2007 and Implementing Decision 2017/1459 implementing Decision 2016/849.

The EU has implemented all UN Security Council resolutions against DPRK. In addition, the EU also imposes autonomous restrictive measures (for example, see above) against the DPRK, complementing and reinforcing the UN sanctions regime.

[Sources: Council of the EU Press Release and European Sanctions]

August 14, China begins implementing the new UN sanctions imposed by UNSCR 2371

China has begun to implement the most recent UN sanctions on DPRK that were imposed by UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2371, adopted unanimously on 5 August. China’s Commerce Ministry issued a ban, effective from 15 August, on several imports from DPRK, including coal, iron ore, lead concentrates and ore, lead and seafood. The Chinese government said any cargoes already on their way to China would be cleared by customs as usual before the UN sanctions deadline. These new UN sanctions must be implemented within 90 days of the resolution being passed.

However China has yet to begin implementation of other elements of UNSCR 2371 which include a ban on increasing the total number of work permits/authorisations for North Korean nationals in China without approval from the Security Council Committee[1] overseeing DPRK sanctions, and a ban on the opening of new joint ventures or expansion of/investment in existing joint ventures with North Korean firms or people.

[1] In 2006 the UN Security Council adopted the first sanctions reolution (UNSCR 1718) against the DPRK. Among other actions, UNSCR 1718 created the Security Council Committee (commonly known as “the Committee”) to oversee sanctions measures imposed by the Security Council.

[Sources: Reuters and European Sanctions]

August 22, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, targeting mainly Chinese and Russian entities and individuals assisting DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated 10 entities and six individuals for activities related to support of DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, energy trade, labour exports, and sanctions evasion. The 16 either do business with previously sanctioned companies and people, work with DPRK’s energy sector, help it place workers abroad or enable sanctioned entities to access U.S. and international financial systems. These activities assist DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and help the country make money to support those programs. One important effect of the measures is to freeze any assets the entities may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar Americans from carrying out any transactions with them. OFAC describes these latest measures as complementing the most recent UN Security Council sanctions resolution 2371 (August, 2017).

OFAC designated three Russian individuals and two Singapore-based companies involved in providing oil to DPRK. A fourth Russian, and his company Gefest-M, were designated for the procurement of metals for DPRK’s WMD programmes. The other two individuals sanctioned were a North Korean national based in Namibia who facilitated overseas labour revenue and a Chinese national. This last individual, Chi Yupeng, is the director and majority owner of Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials Co., Ltd. (“Zhicheng”), one of three Chinese coal companies designated by OFAC for being collectively responsible for importing nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of coal from DPRK between 2013 and 2016. Zhicheng is of particular note in this set of OFAC designations as it specialises in the import, export, and transport of steel and anthracite coal, and it has worked with a number of U.S.-designated entities, including the UN-designated Koryo Credit Development Bank and Korea Ocean Shipping Agency. Zhicheng allegedly used the foreign exchange received from the end users of coal imported from DPRK to purchase other items for DPRK, including nuclear and missile components. Chi Yupeng had used a network of companies to engage in bulk purchases, wire transfers, and other transactions on behalf of North Korean interests. UNSCR 1718 (October, 2006) prohibits direct and indirect support for DPRK’s WMD program.

OFAC also designated China-based Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., Ltd. for its support to UN- and U.S.-designated Korea Kumsan Trading Corporation, an entity OFAC previously designated for being owned or acting for, the UN- and U.S.-designated General Bureau of Atomic Energy, which is responsible for DPRK’s nuclear program. Dandong Rich Earth Trading Co., Ltd. had purchased vanadium ore from Korea Kumsan Trading Corporation. UNSCR 2270 (March, 2016) prohibits exports from DPRK of vanadium ore, and requires member states like China to prohibit the procurement of vanadium ore from DPRK.

Despite its obligations to the UN, China has responded to this latest round of OFAC designations by saying that U.S. secondary sanctions “will not help” resolve the North Korea issue. It also “strongly” urged Washington to “immediately correct its mistake” of imposing sanctions on Chinese people and entities.

[Sources: OFAC Press Release, OFAC North Korea and Non-proliferation Designations and NK News]

August 24, European Union (EU) implements humanitarian exemptions to DPRK sanctions

The EU has implemented a UN exemption to its sanctions on DPRK, allowing for certain transactions with North Korean entities Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) and Korea National Insurance Company (KNIC). The exemptions allow transactions with FTB or KNIC if they are solely for the operation of diplomatic missions in DPRK or humanitarian activities that are undertaken by, or in coordination with, the UN.

See Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1501 amending Council Regulation 329/2007 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1504 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849.

[Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

August 25, Japan imposes additional unilateral sanctions against DPRK

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet announced new unilateral sanctions against DPRK. They target six companies and one individual of China and Namibia, and another individual of unknown nationality. Their purpose is “to keep pressuring North Korea in coordination with the U.S., South Korea, and other countries,” Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary said.

The measures follow new U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designations published on 22 August. These sanction entities and individuals in China, Russia, Singapore, and Namibia for supporting DPRK’s special weapons programmes, mineral trade and use of overseas labor.

Like their U.S. counterparts, the new Japanese sanctions are designed to freeze the assets of those who allegedly facilitate coal exports from DPRK and coordinate overseas labor, potentially in breach of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions. With the new sanctions coming into effect, Japan has so far frozen the assets of 72 entities and 81 individuals associated with activities that assist DPRK’s nuclear and missile development programmes.

[Sources: NK News and CNN]

August 25, DPRK fires three short-range missiles

DPRK is reported to have fired several rockets from Kangwon province that travelled north-east before landing in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Early reports suggested that one of the missiles exploded immediately on launch while the other two blew up mid flight. However the U.S. Pacific Command revised its initial assessment that the first and third short-range missiles failed during flight to say they flew about 250 kilometers (155 miles). It said that the second missile appears to have blown up immediately and that none posed a threat to the U.S. territory of Guam, which Pyongyang had previously warned it would fire missiles toward.

The launches took place during the annual U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises that have angered Pyongyang. This year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian joint military drills, in which tens of thousands of South Korean and U.S. troops are taking part, is largely a computer-simulated exercise that runs for two weeks.

The three test-launches are the first known missile firings by DPRK since July (see here and here), when the North successfully tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) that analysts say could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected. It was these two ICBM tests that prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to warn that he would unleash “fire and fury” if DPRK continued its threats.

Previous medium-range missile tests by DPRK into the Sea of Japan/East Sea have prompted strong protests from Japan. On this occasion, however, Japan’s top government spokesman said there was no direct threat to Japan from these latest test-launches. Yoshihide Suga told reporters the missiles did not fall into Japan’s territorial waters or the coastal 200-mile economic zone.

[Sources: AP and The Guardian]

August 28, DPRK launches an intermediate-range ballistic missile that overflew Japan

DPRK launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The missile then passed over Hokkaido at 0606 JST and landed in the Pacific Ocean around 1180 km east of Cape Erimo at 0612, the Japanese government said. The launch at 0557 KST appears to have taken place in the vicinity of Pyongyang Sunan International Airport to the northeast of Pyongyang.

The missile appears to have been a Hwasong-12, the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) technically capable of flying 3,000 miles that DPRK has been threatening to launch toward the U.S. territory of Guam.

By launching the IRBM to the east over Hokkaido and into the Pacific Ocean, rather than on a southward path toward Guam, DPRK have sought to test its flight on a normal operational trajectory without crossing a “red line” of aiming at the United States. DPRK’s most recent medium- and long-range launches have been on lofted, that is, ultra high altitude, trajectories. Lofting is a way to test a ballistic missile at a shorter range, but the only thing that can properly test a full-range flight is an actual full-range flight that most accurately represents the operational environment of the missile.

“The decision to conduct a long-range versus lofted launch over Japanese territory today is likely driven by a combination of technical and political motives,” Chad O’Carroll said in NK News. “Technical in the sense the DPRK will gain meaningful test-data from a full-range test of the missile which is impossible to fully garner from a lofted launch…. Political in the sense a flight east was probably chosen so as not to confuse the U.S. about possibly reaching Guam.” “Useful, too,” he added “as a response of sorts to Tokyo’s decision to last week designate a number of North Korean entities in new sanctions.”

This is not the first time that DPRK has launched a missile over Japan. It fired rockets over the Japanese mainland in 1998 and 2009 although it described them as satellite launch vehicles and gave Japan advance warning in the second case. However this latest launch over Japan was the first missile test that was designed for military purposes.

This latest ballistic missile launch, the 18th so far in 2017, seemed designed to wreak just the right amount of havoc: Enough for Kim Jong-un to show that he wouldn’t be cowed, but not so much as to invite American “fire and fury” said Anna Fifield in the Washington Post.

Stephan Haggard, a political scientist and Korea expert at the University of California at San Diego wrote in PIIE that “this launch was perfectly calibrated to create political mischief. Not only does it fly beneath the threshold at which a military response is recognized as absolutely necessary by all three relevant parties, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. It also drives wedges between Beijing and Seoul, Tokyo and Washington as well because of the natural inclination for the two major allies to strengthen their ties with the U.S.”

[Sources: The Guardian, NK News, and PIIE]

August 29, UN Security Council (UNSC) strongly condemns ballistic missile launch by DPRK that flew over Japan

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the 28 August 2017 (local time) launch of a ballistic missile by DPRK that flew over Japan. The condemnation included the multiple ballistic missile launches DPRK conducted on 25 August 2017.

The condemnation was contained in a presidential statement S/PRST/2017/16 in which UN members demanded that DPRK immediately cease such actions and comply with all relevant Council resolutions. The statement stopped short of calling for any new sanctions or other specific measures against Pyongyang.

While supporting the statement, China called on the U.S. and South Korea to dismantle the THAAD missile defence system they have deployed in South Korea. Russia said addressing the issue through sanctions alone was not productive.

Both China and Russia have criticised the U.S. for secondary sanctions issued recently against individuals and entities in their respective countries which Washington has accused of violating existing sanctions against DPRK.

[Sources: UN Press Release and South China Morning Post]

August 30, European Union (EU) consolidates DPRK sanctions into new measure, Council Regulation (2017/1509)

The EU has consolidated its sanctions against DPRK into a new Regulation (2017/1509), in view of the large number of amendments that had been made to the old measure (329/2007). It has also substantially updated the relevant Decision (CFSP) (2016/849) to reflect a number of these changes. See below for links to these regulations and decisions.

Among the provisions of the new regulation is that the European Commission should be empowered to amend the EU’s list of luxury goods if necessary in view of any definition or guidelines that the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee may promulgate to facilitate the implementation of the restrictions concerning luxury goods, taking the lists of luxury goods produced in other jurisdictions into account.

See Council Regulation 2017/1509 repealing Council Regulation 329/2007 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1512 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849.

[Source: European Sanctions]

August 30, China rules out unilateral sanctions to punish the DPRK for latest missile launch

China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, said Beijing will not act on its own but will continue to seek agreement with other UN Security Council members. He dismissed the idea as an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council issued a statement that strongly condemned the 28 August 2017 (local time) launch of a ballistic missile by DPRK that flew over Japan.

The UNSC emergency meeting stopped short of announcing any new sanctions or other specific measures against Pyongyang. Wang Yi said in a news briefing that “any unilateral sanction … is not in line with international laws, and is not supported by China.”. He added that “a very important part of Security Council resolutions … is that we should continue to stick to peaceful and diplomatic means to resolve this issue.”

[Source: South China Morning Post]

September 3 (AM), DPRK claims development of a hydrogen bomb that can be loaded as warhead of an ICBM

The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) published photos of Kim Jong-un inspecting what was described as a thermonuclear warhead being prepared next to the nosecone of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental-rangle ballistic missile (ICBM). These were clearly provided for publication in the international media. Rodong Sinmun had earlier published similar photos for viewing by Norh Korean readers.

“The H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds [of] kiloton, is a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP [electromagnetic pulse] attack according to strategic goals,” the KCNA said.

The KCNA report, furthermore, emphasised that the warhead components and production techniques were all domestically produced and mastered, meaning that DPRK can “produce as many powerful nuclear weapons as it wants.”

The KCNA report added that the warhead design had been upgraded to a “higher ultra-modern level” to what had been used for DPRK’s first claimed hydrogen bomb test, an event which took place on January 6, 2016, although experts disputed its technical characteristics at the time.

[Editor: A thermonuclear weapon is colloquially referred to as a hydrogen bomb, or an H-bomb, because it employs the fusion of isotopes of hydrogen. Hydrogen bombs are far more powerful than the (fission) atomic weapons Pyongyang is believed to have tested so far.]

The public display of the warhead is notable for coming after two ICBM tests and an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) test that overflew Japan six days earlier, events which all contributed to a sharp increase in tensions between the U.S. and DPRK.

[Source: NK News]

September 3 (PM), DPRK carries out its sixth nuclear test

At about 1235 South Korean time (0335 UTC) monitoring stations of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) detected a seismic wave from the area around Punggye-ri, the DPRK’s nuclear test site in the north-east of the country. Its cause was determined to be an artifical quake of 6.3-magnitude that was felt over the Chinese border in Yanji. A short time later state media in DPRK confirmed this was no earthquake and claimed that the country had conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test, detonating a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto a long-range ballistic missile.

South Korea’s meteorological administration estimated the blast yield at between 50 to 60 kilotons, or five to six times stronger than DPRK’s fifth test in September 2016.

Kim Young-woo, the head of South Korea’s parliamentary defence committee said later that the yield was as high as 100 kilotons. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT. The previous nuclear blast in DPRK is estimated by experts to have been about 10 kilotons. As a comparison, the fission bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 had a yield of about 15 kilotons while that dropped on Nagasaki had a yield of about 20 kilotons.

[Source: The Guardian]

September 4, United Kingdom requests details of frozen funds of persons designated under financial sanctions legislation

Financial sanctions legislation applicable in the UK requires that all funds or economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by a designated person must be frozen. The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury with responsibility for sanctions enforcement in the UK, has asked that any person or entity that holds or controls funds or economic resources belonging to, held, or owned by a sanctioned person report the details of those assets by 13 October 2017.  This is part of HM Treasury’s annual review of frozen assets. The government’s notice is here.

[Quoted from source (with minor edits and additions) European Sanctions]

September 4, UN Security Council (UNSC) holds emergency meeting and strongly condemns underground nuclear test by DPRK

A one and a half hour emergency meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) strongly condemed the recent underground nuclear test conducted by DPRK. The emergency meeting discussed options that would promptly de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, said his country firmly supports the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and strongly urged Pyongyang to comply with international measures. “The situation on the peninsula is deteriorating constantly as we speak, falling into a vicious circle. The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. China will never allow chaos and war on the peninsula” he said. He reminded the council that China and the Russian Federation had proposed to establish a peace mechanism that, among other things, required Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear programme, and the Republic of Korea and the United States to halt its military exercises. “Through such an approach, actions could then be taken to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula” he added.

Russia backs China’s proposal for a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of U.S.-South Korea military drills. Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after Monday’s meeting: “Resolutions aimed solely at sanctioning North Korea have not worked well before.”

While no additional sanctions proposals were discussed at the meeting, Reuters reported that diplomats have said the Security Council could now consider banning North Korean textile exports and its national airline, stopping supplies of oil to the government and military, preventing North Koreans from working abroad and adding top officials to a blacklist to subject them to an asset freeze and travel ban. However a total ban on oil and fuel supplies to DPRK is not likely to be approved by China.

Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, stressed that the latest serious developments required a comprehensive response to break the cycle of provocations from DPRK, and said such an action must include wise and bold diplomacy to be effective. As the Council considered its reaction, he emphasized that the Secretary-General reiterated the importance of responding to humanitarian imperatives regardless of the political situation [our emphasis].

[Sources: UN Press Release and The Guardian]

September 8, Philippines suspends trade with DPRK to comply with UN Security Council DPRK sanctions resolutions

The Philippines Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano announced that his country had suspended trade relations with DPRK to comply with UN Security Council sanctions resolutions against DPRK.

“We can say we have suspended trade relations with North Korea,” he told reporters after a meeting with the U.S. ambassador on cooperation on an anti-drugs program. “We will fully comply with UNSC resolution including the economic sanctions.”

The Philippines is DPRK’s fifth-largest trade partner, with bilateral trade from January to June 2017 worth $28.8 million, according to the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

On an annual basis, DPRK imported $28.8 million of products from the Philippines in 2016, an increase of 80 percent from the previous year, while Manila’s imports from Pyongyang surged 170 percent to $16.1 million.

According to the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the main exports to North Korea in 2015 were computers, integrated circuit boards, bananas and women’s undergarments.

Of particular importance, Cayetano said the trade ban covered raw computer chips from the Philippines.

[Source: The New York Times]

September 11, UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2375 which includes a ban on export of textiles and limits oil/fuel imports

The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted sanctions resolution 2375 in response to DPRK carrying out a nuclear weapons test on 3 September 2017. The resolution represented a swift response to this sixth and strongest nuclear test explosion so far, and to DPRK’s escalating launches of increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles that it says can reach the United States.

Although the U.S. described the sanctions as “the strongest ever imposed on [DPRK]” its provisions are a significant climb-down from those proposed by the Trump administration in the initial draft resolution it circulated, especially on oil, where a complete ban could have crippled DPRK’s economy. The final text was agreed after negotiations between the U.S. and China.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations describes the key elements of UNSCR 2375 thus:

Oil/Petroleum

  • This resolution reduces about 30% of oil provided to DPRK by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to the country.
    • It will achieve this through imposing an annual cap of 2 million barrels per year of all refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, etc.)
    • DPRK currently receives a total of about 8.5 million barrels of oil/petroleum: 4.5 million in refined form and 4 million in crude form.
  • The resolution freezes the current amount of crude oil provided to DPRK by banning countries from providing additional crude oil beyond what China provides through the Dandong-Sinuiju pipeline.
  • The resolution also bans the supply to DPRK of all natural gas and condensates—this will prevent DPRK from obtaining substitutes for refined petroleum products.

Textiles

  • The resolution bans all North Korean textile exports.
  • Textile exports – DPRK’s largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted – earned DPRK an average of $760 million in the past three years.
  • Combined with the previous Security Council resolutions, over 90% of DPRK’s publicly reported 2016 exports of $2.7 billion are now banned (coal, textiles, iron, seafood), which does not include revenues from overseas workers.

Overseas Labourers

  • This provision is expected to eventually deny the regime another half billion dollars each year it takes from the nearly 100,000 North Korean citizens working around the world to earn wages.
  • In order to minimise business disruptions to existing contracts and work authorisations involving North Korean overseas workers, this provision allows existing authorisations to reach their original expiration dates but does not authorise any renewals.

Interdiction

  • The resolution provides member states new tools to stop high seas smuggling of prohibited products (e.g., conventional arms, coal, textiles, seafood, etc.). [The U.S. says DPRK has been smuggling coal and iron ore to other countries using very sophisticated evasion techniques by sea.]
    • If flag states refuse to allow inspections of suspicious vessels on the high seas, then the flag state is required to redirect the vessels to a port for inspection.
    • If a flag state or vessel does not cooperate with inspections, then the vessel can be designated for an asset freeze, denied port access, de-registered, and suffer other penalties.

    Joint Ventures

    • The resolution requires the end of all joint ventures with DPRK. This will not only starve the regime of any revenues generated through such arrangements, it will now stop all future foreign investments and technology transfers to help DPRK’s nascent and weak commercial industries. [NKhumanitarian Editors: This could have profound humanitarian impacts since many thousands of households are solely dependent for their survival on income from private enterprise in DPRK.]
    • However, to protect civilian needs of the North Korean people [claims the Fact Sheet] and continue facilitating international commerce involving the North Korean port of Rajin, the China-DPRK hydroelectric power stations on the Yalu River and the Russia-DPRK Khasan-Rajin rail and port project to allow transshipment of Russian coal to other markets are exempted.

    Designations

    • The resolution imposes asset freezes on three new DPRK regime entities: Organizational Guidance Department, Central Military Commission, and Propaganda and Agitation Department that run the DPRK government, military, and ‘keep its people down’ [says the Fact Sheet].
    • The resolution imposes an asset freeze and a travel ban on one individual, Pak Yong Sik, who is a member of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Military Commission, which is responsible for the development and implementation of the Workers’ Party of Korea military policies, commands and controls the DPRK’s military, and helps direct the country’s military defense industries.
    • The resolution facilitates the listing of additional dual-use items and technology that could be used for WMD or conventional arms-related purposes that will be banned for transfer to and from DPRK.
    • The resolution also facilitates a process to identify vessels caught smuggling prohibited North Korean goods to other countries.

    [Sources: Fact Sheet of the U.S. Mission to the UN, UN Security Council Press Release with text of resolution and NBC News]

    September 15, DPRK launches another intermediate-range ballistic missile that overflew Japan

    The DPRK has launched another missile that has overflown Japan. It is believed to be an intermediate-range ballistic missile, probably another Hwasong-12 missile as used in the August test that also overflew Japan.

    It was fired from Sunan, just north of Pyongyang, at 6.57am Japanese local time on 15 September (21.57 GMT 14 September). It flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before landing, 20 minutes after launch, in the Pacific Ocean, 2,200km east of Cape Erimo.

    This is the longest-ever such flight carried out by the DPRK, travelling 3,700km which is 800km further than the previous launch over Japan, in August.

    This puts the missile in range of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which Kim Jong-un has threatened to attack. Guam is 3,400km from the DPRK.

    [Source: The Guardian]

    September 15-16, European Union (EU) implements August round of UN sanctions on DPRK, adds 4 new listings

    The EU has implemented the round of UN sanctions imposed on the DPRK in August by UNSCR 2371 which, among other things, extended the import ban on certain North Korean goods and limited the number of work authorisations that may be issued for North Korean nationals to work in UN member states. The EU has also listed the one person and three entities designated in the UN’s September round of sanctions (UNSCR 2375) but has not yet implemented the other measures the UN introduced at that time.

    See Council Regulation 2017/1548 amending Council Regulation 2017/1509 [gives effect to UNSCR 2371] and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1562 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849, and Council Implementing Regulation 2017/1568 implementing Council Regulation 2017/1509 [gives effect to part of UNSCR 2375] and Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2017/1573 implementing Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849.

    [Source: European Sanctions]

    September 20, U.S. President signs new Executive Order imposing additional sanctions on DPRK

    In response to recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests by the DPRK the U.S. has imposed new sanctions on that country targeting all means used by the DPRK to earn, access and transfer funds. Executive Order (E.O. 13810) targets individuals and entities that engage in trade with the DPRK as well as the financial institutions that facilitate this trade. The E.O. also expands the scope of shipping sanctions against the DPRK.

    The new sanctions:

    • impose a 180-day ban from visiting the United States on vessels and aircraft that have visited DPRK or that have engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited DPRK within 180 days. Note that the accompanying OFAC General License No. 10, also issued September 21, modifies this ban and authorises vessels and aircraft covered by the ban to call or land at a port or place in the United States in the following special circumstances:
      1. The vessel is in distress and seeks refuge in the United States;
      2. The vessel’s call at a port in North Korea was due solely to its distress and the
        resulting need to seek refuge;
      3. The aircraft is engaging in a nontraffic stop or an emergency landing in the United
        States; or
      4. The aircraft’s landing in North Korea was due solely to an emergency.
    • provides authority to impose restrictions on correspondent/payable-through accounts and blocking sanctions on any foreign financial institution that knowingly conducts or facilitates any significant transaction on behalf of certain designated individuals and entities, or any significant transaction in connection with trade with DPRK;
    • provides the Secretary of the Treasury additional authority to block any funds originating from, destined for, or passing through accounts linked to the DPRK that come within the United States or possession of a U.S. person.
    • authorises the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on persons involved in:
      • various industries in thhe DPRK including construction, energy, financial services, fishing, information technology (IT), manufacturing, medical, mining, textiles, and transportation;
      • the ownership, control, or operation of any port in the DPRK, including any seaport, airport, or land port of entry;
      • in at least one significant import/export to/from the DPRK of any goods, services, or technology.

    It would seem from the above that it makes any persons doing ‘business’ with the DPRK potentially subject to a sanctions designation. International NGOs working in the DPRK already have extreme difficulty transferring funds to the DPRK in order to carry out their humanitarian operations. This new Executive Order is likely to make funding and supplying those humanitarian operations even more difficult.

    [Source: Whitehouse Press Office]

    September 23, China bans condensate and LNG export to the DPRK

    China’s Ministry of Commerce announced on September 22 that it had imposed a ban on the export of condensate oil and liquefied natural gas to the DPRK taking effect on September 23.

    It has also imposed restrictions on export of refined oil products to the DPRK from October 1 and textile imports from the country (with an exception for contracts signed before 11 September where import procedures are completed before 10 December).

    China is the DPRK’s main supplier of oil products with 6,000 barrels of oil being exported to its neighbour each day.

    The bans and restrictions are an initial response by the PRC to implement the sanctions imposed by the latest UN Security Council resolution 2375 (September 2017).

    [Source: World Maritime News]

    September 26, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, designating banks and individuals linked to DPRK financial networks

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announces further autonomous sanctions, designating 26 individuals and eight DPRK banks in response to what the U.S. has described as the DPRK’s ongoing violations of UN Resolutions and attempts to develop WMDs.

    The 26 people are all DPRK nationals working in China, Russia, Libya, and the UAE as representatives of DPRK banks.

    OFAC identified the Foreign Trade Bank and Central Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as part of the Government of North Korea. Foreign Trade Bank was already designated by the U.S., while the designation of Central Bank makes it now subject to U.S. sanctions.

    [Quoted from source (with minor edits and additions) European Sanctions]

    October 3, UN Security Council imposes a global port ban on four ships for breach of DPRK sanctions

    The Security Council Committee established by UNSCR 1718 (2006) designated the following four vessels
    pursuant to paragraph 6 of UNSCR 2375 (2017) for violating sanctions against the DPRK:

    • Petrel 8 (IMO: 9562233);
    • Hao Fan 6 (IMO: 8628597);
    • Jie Shun (IMO: 8518780);
    • Tong San 2 (IMO: 8937675).

    The two bulk carriers, the 2011-built Petrel 8 and 2009-built Hao Fan 6 are flagged in Comoros and St Kitts Nevis respectively, while the two other vessels are general cargo ships registered in Cambodia and DPRK. According to BBC reports, the ships were found “transporting prohibited goods” in breach of UN sanctions against the DPRK.

    UNSCR 2375 adopted by the UN Security Council on September 11, 2017, included strong maritime provisions enabling countries to counter sanctions evasion by the DPRK who are smuggling prohibited exports (e.g., conventional arms, coal, textiles, seafood, etc.) by sea. According to the UN, the DPRK has been using very sophisticated evasion techniques including the reflagging of ships.

    These port bans on the four ships adds to the growing list of vessels designated by the UN for DPRK sanctions breaches.

    [Source: UN Security Council Press Release and World Maritime News]

    October 10, European Union (EU) implements the sectoral sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2375

    Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1836, providing the legal acts to transpose into EU law the sectoral sanctions imposed by UN Security Council resolution 2375 (2017), was adopted.

    The legal acts it transposes include:

    • a ban on the sale of natural gas liquids to the DPRK;
    • limitations on the sale of refined petroleum products and crude oil to the DPRK;
    • a ban on the importation of its textiles;
    • the exemptions provided by the UN Security Council for humanitarian and livelihood purposes.

    In addition, member states will not provide new work authorisations to DPRK nationals to enter and work in their territory as they are suspected of generating revenue which is used to support the country’s illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

    See Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1838 that amended
    Decision (CFSP) 2016/849
    in order to give effect to the new measures imposed by UNSCR 2375 (2017). The consequence of that decision is, in the jargon of the EU, that “since these measures fall within the scope of the Treaty and, therefore, in particular with a view to ensuring their uniform application in all Member States, regulatory action at the level of the Union is necessary.” Hence Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1836 ammending Council Regulation 2017/1509 was ammended accordingly.

    [Source: Council of the European Union Press Release]

    October 11, New Zealand aircraft maker pleads guilty to breaching DPRK sanctions

    New Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace pleaded guilty to unlawfully exporting aircraft parts to the DPRK. The Hamilton firm broke both New Zealand law and UN sanctions when it indirectly sent aircraft parts to the DPRK in February 2016. New Zealand Customs charged Pacific Aerospace on August 6 for the export of aircraft parts, and an alleged “erroneous declaration”.

    The breach by Pacific Aerospace came to light after one of its aircraft was photographed at a North Korean air show in Wonsan in September 2016. According to the New Zealand Customs Service, Pacific Aerospace sold a 10-seat aircraft to Beijing General Aviation Company (BGAC) in September 2015. The aircraft was then sold to a privately held Chinese charter flight company, FreeSky Aviation, which flew it to the DPRK in December 2015.

    On three occasions in 2016, Pacific Aerospace supplied equipment for the aircraft at the request of BGAC “knowing that the parts would be sent to DPRK”, according to the New Zealand Customs Service.

    Editor’s Note. This Financial Times article provides the most comprehensive and detailed coverage of this story. It is also of particular interest to this blog because it illustrates two important weaknesses in the UN’s DPRK sanctions regime that undermine its effectiveness. In the case of New Zealand, at least, it also suggests that the penalties for sanctions breaches are not an effective deterrent.

    Weakness #1: The role of Chinese intermediaries

    Pacific Aerospace is in a joint venture with one of China’s biggest carmakers, the BAIC Group (officially Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd.), which is a Chinese state-owned enterprise and holding company of several automobile and machine manufacturers located in Beijing, China.

    Its principal subsidiaries include the passenger car maker BAIC Motor; a military vehicle and SUV maker, BAW; and a truck, bus, and agricultural equipment maker, Foton Motor. BAIC also makes Hyundai and Mercedes-branded cars for sale on the Chinese market through the Beijing Hyundai and Beijing Benz joint ventures (of BAIC Motor).

    The Financial Times article referred to above describes corporate records that show the New Zealand-headquartered Pacific Aerorspace’s seven-person board now includes four directors and managers from BAIC and its subsidiaries, including chairman and departmental level Communist party cadre Xu Heyi.

    According to the New Zealand Customs Service, Pacific Aerospace sold a 10-seat aircraft to Beijing General Aviation Company in September 2015 – BGAC is a subsidiary of BAIC and managed by Pacific Aerospace director Ling Zhuanghuai.

    The aircraft was on-sold to a privately held Chinese charter flight company, FreeSky Aviation, which flew it to North Korea in December 2015.

    On three occasions in 2016, Pacific Aerospace supplied equipment for the aircraft at the request of BGAC “knowing that the parts would be sent to DPRK”.

    Weakness #2: Inconsistent definitions of “luxury goods”

    The DPRK benefits from the different definitions ascribed to the term “luxury goods” by the Member States of the UN. Outside of the limited UN definition of luxury goods, each country is permitted to define what it considers to be “luxury goods” for sanctions purposes. This creates a serious loophole that is exploited in particular by Chinese middlemen and traders.

    Some countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, have published detailed lists. The European Union (EU), for example, in its detailed list defines “articles for skiing, golf, diving and water sports” as luxury goods and bans them from export to the DPRK from any of the (currently) 28 Member States of the EU. China, on the other hand, has not published a luxury goods list and does not honour the luxury goods lists of other countries when it exports to the DPRK.

    Noteworthy in the New Zealand sanctions case, the UN considered the aircraft a luxury good – and therefore was banned for sale to the DPRK under sanctions adopted by the UN in 2006 (UNSCR 1718) and transposed into New Zealand law. China, however, claimed the aircraft was not included in its prohibited luxury goods list, a report to the UN Security Council said.

    “This case highlights a trend whereby luxury items in manufacturers’ countries are transferred to third countries with different criteria for luxury goods before their end use in [North Korea],” the UN report said.

    Penalties for breach of DPRK sanctions are hardly a deterrent

    The Financial Times article quotes Joseph DeThomas, a former U.S. state department adviser on North Korea, who said exporters operating through a Chinese company posed “a real difficulty in sanctions enforcement”.

    He suggests there may be complicity in sanctions breaches by businesses outside of China. “Companies are desperate to keep Chinese customers happy. They tend to overlook or even assist in the antics of their Chinese customers for fear of losing their Chinese market,” Mr DeThomas said.

    Mr DeThomas noted the “very minor” potential penalty faced by Pacific Aerospace. NZ Customs said in August the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment for an individual and a fine of up to NZ$100,000 (US$71,000) for a company. “Even when countries enforce sanctions, the penalties are not severe enough to deter future violations,” he said.

    [Sources: Financial Times and Reuters]

    October 16, Taiwan announces that it has banned all trade activities with the DPRK

    On September 19 Taiwan announced that, in line with UN Security Council resolutions, it had suspended refined oil and LNG exports to the DPRK as well as clothing and textile imports. As Taiwan is not a member state of the United Nations, this was a largely symbolic move to signal that it is a responsible member of the international community.

    Taiwan has now strengthened it sanctions by announcing on 26 September that it had banned all trade activities with the DPRK in order to comply with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2375 (September 2017) that was unanimously agreed after Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test in early September.

    The announcement by Taiwan is unlikely to have much impact on the DPRK. According to the South China Morning Post, trade between Taiwan and the DPRK is ‘minuscule’. The paper notes that, out of 235 major countries and regions, the DPRK is Taiwan’s 174th largest trading partner. Taiwan imported US$1.2 million in goods from the DPRK (mainly ginseng and textiles) from January to July in 2017 and exported US$36,575 in goods to the DPRK during the same period.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    October 16, European Union (EU) adds to DPRK sanctions including designation of a further three persons and six entities

    The Council of the European Union (EU) adopted new measures against the DPRK, under Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1858, which expand the ban on EU investment in and with the DPRK to all sectors, decreases the amount of personal remittances that can be sent to the DPRK from €15,000 to €5,000, and imposes a prohibition on oil exports to the DPRK.

    The Council has also adopted Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1859, which adds 3 persons and 6 entities to the list of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restriction provided for by Annexes XV and XVI of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509. This latter regulation imposed financial sanctions against the DPRK and was adopted 30 August.

    These new measures add to those adopted by the EU on 10 October, which implemented the sectoral sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council resolution 2375 (2017).

    [Source: European Sanctions]

    October 16, Russia’s President Putin signs decree implementing UN sanctions against DPRK

    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to impose sanctions on the DPRK. Putin signed the decree in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2321 (November 2016).

    The implementation by Russia of UN sanctions resolution 2321 (adopted eleven months previously by the Security Council) appears to be “light touch” compared to their tougher and more timely (that is, February 2017) implementation by the European Union, for example.

    The following is quoted from Pravda with comment/emphasis added in bold text by NKhumanitarian Editors:

    In accordance with the resolution, additional international sanctions have been imposed to curtail the development and supplies of resources for prohibited programs of the DPRK. The sanctions have limited the cooperation with North Korea in the military-technical, trade-economic, financial, transport and educational spheres.

    Russia has thus suspended defense cooperation with persons and groups of persons representing the DPRK. At the same time, cooperation in the field of nuclear science and technology, aerospace engineering and aviation technology or advanced production technologies shall be allowed only if it does not contribute to the development of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

    The president also instructed to deprive North Korean ships of state registration in Russia should vessels be involved in the implementation of the North Korean nuclear program [Comment: but not, according to the summary in Pravda, if the vessel is involved in smuggling other goods prohibited by UNSCR 2321 such as non-ferrous metals–copper, nickel, silver and zinc–or capped exports such as coal]. Such vessels shall not be allowed to enter Russian ports. Supplies of new helicopters and ships to the DPRK have been prohibited. The sanctions have also expanded restrictions against a number of natural persons and legal entities of North Korea.

    [Source: Pravda]

    October 17, United Kingdom issues Financial Sanctions Notice implementing the amended Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509

    As Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 imposing financial sanctions against DPRK had been amended so that an asset freeze now applied to another 3 persons and 6 entities, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued this Financial Sanctions Notice, the Annex of which provides identifying information for the 9 entries so that an asset freeze applies to them in the UK.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    October 18, Switzerland implements UN Security Council Resolutions 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017), tightening sanctions on DPRK

    Switzerland’s Federal Council issued a decree tightening considerably the sanctions it already imposes on the DPRK. The decree implements the sanctions adopted in UN Security Council Resolution 2371 (August 2017) and 2375 (September 2017). They include additional sanctions on the trade in goods, on the financial sector and on work authorisations:

    • Work authorisations: Work authorisations may no longer be issued to citizens of the DPRK, with the exception of permits issued under employment contracts concluded before 11 September 2017.
    • Financial sector: Joint ventures and cooperative entities, both ongoing and new, with North Korean individuals or companies are no longer permitted. Existing joint ventures and cooperatives must be discontinued by 9 January at the latest.
    • Clarification of previous targeted sanctions: It is now specified that financial transactions with Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and the Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC) are permitted as long as they are solely for the operation of diplomatic or consular missions or for humanitarian activities. KNIC has been the target of sanctions by the international community since 2015 (see this timeline passim). It is alleged to be involved in insurance scams that have earned the DPRK tens of millions of dollars a year.
    • Extension of the ban on the trade in goods: Condensates, natural gas liquids and refined petroleum products may no longer be sold or exported to the DPRK, although up to 2 million barrels of refined petroleum products may be imported by the country annually. The UN will ensure that this cap is respected. Annually permitted crude oil import volumes have been frozen at the level of the previous twelve months. The DPRK is now banned from supplying, selling, importing or transiting through its territory lead and lead ore, textiles, fish and seafood. The exemption that previously applied to coal imports from the DPRK has now been removed. There will continue to be strict monitoring of bans on the transport of certain goods, with customs authorities physically checking all shipments to and from the DPRK.
    • Shipping: The handling of goods bound for or coming from the DPRK, or from ship to ship with a North Korean vessel, and affording any form of assistance to such a vessel is now prohibited except in situations of emergency or distress.

    Editor’s Note: Switzerland remains a major humanitarian actor in the DPRK through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the international development agency of Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). Despite this, on 25 October 2006, the Federal Council of Switzerland approved the Ordinance on Measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which implemented UN Security Council Resolution 1718. The Swiss sanctions ordinance has been tightened several times since then, thereby implementing UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016). With the Federal Council decree of 18 October, to that list is added the most recent UN Security Council Resolutions, 2371 (August 2017) and 2375 (September 2017). In its press release (see below) SECO notes that sanctions adopted by the UN are binding under international law.

    [Sources: Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Press Release and NKhumanitarian Editors]

    October 24, Namibia rejects accusations that it is in breach of UN sanctions against the DPRK

    Namibia’s government rejected accusations by the coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea who accused the southern African nation of not complying with UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang.

    Lineekela Mboti, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, said Namibia terminated the contracts the country had with Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID) and Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP) “which will remain in place” for as long as the UN Security Council sanctions continued. She said Windhoek was committed to complying with all relevant UN resolutions on the DPRK.

    According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea, Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies have been conducting business in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia including Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Benin, Cambodia, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Malaysia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Syria, Togo and Zimbabwe. It said the foreign currency earned by the DPRK through MOP is “highly significant.”

    In the case of Namibia, Mansudae has built a munitions factory, the presidential palace and many monuments in the country. Until recently it was also building the new Ministry of Defence headquarters in Windhoek but building work had ceased after the company and its North Korean workers hurriedly left the country in early October, according to CNN.

    Mansudae’s statue business was designated by the UN Security Council in late 2016. Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP) was designated and made subject to an asset freeze by UNSCR 2371 (August 2017). The UN panel says that MOP worked closely in Namibia on military-related construction with another entity called the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID). KOMID was designated by the UN Panel in April 2009 and is the DPRK’s primary arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.

    Contracting a North Korean company to contruct a munitions factory is a clear violation of UN sanctions dating back nearly a decade. When the then head of UN Panel of Experts visited Windhoek in 2013 he was told that Namibia was complying with all UN resolutions. According to his successor as head of the Panel, “in fact, at the time there was a large group of Korean workers building a munitions factory in direct violation of the resolutions. So they were being untruthful.”

    [Sources: CNN, Daily Maverick and The Namibian]

    October 26, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, designating 7 individuals and 3 entities for serious human rights abuses or censorship

    As an action required by the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, the U.S. State Department released its third report on DPRK human rights abuses and censorship, identifying 7 individuals and 3 entities “as responsible for serious human rights abuses or censorship in North Korea.”

    In conjunction with this report, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added the ten persons and entities to its North Korea SDN list [List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons].

    [Source: U.S. Department of State Press Release]

    November 2, U.S. severs Bank of Dandong from the U.S. financial system for “money laundering” on behalf of the DPRK

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a final rule under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act that severs Bank of Dandong from the U.S. financial system.

    Bank of Dandong is a Chinese bank that FinCEN found to be of “primary money laundering concern” for serving as a gateway for the DPRK to access the U.S. and international financial systems despite U.S. and UN sanctions. It “acts as a conduit for North Korea to access the U.S. and international financial systems, including by facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs.”

    FinCEN’s action under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act imposes a prohibition on U.S. financial institutions from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts for, or on behalf of, Bank of Dandong.

    FinCEN separately issued an advisory (as a PDF file) to further alert financial institutions to schemes commonly used by the DPRK to evade U.S. and United Nations (UN) sanctions, launder funds, and finance the North Korean regime’s weapons programmes.

    [Source: U.S. Department of the Teasurey Press Release]

    November 6, South Korea announces new autonomous sanctions, designating 18 individuals linked to DPRK’s banking system

    South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) imposed autonomous sanctions on 18 North Koreans linked to the country’s banking system. They bar any financial transactions between those sanctioned and any South Koreans.

    MOFA said the new sanctions were focused on individuals “engaged in financing the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).” The individuals named are all alleged to be high-ranking employees who have been linked to the DPRK’s nuclear and missile development program as well as the country’s foreign exchange procurement efforts.

    The timing of the announcement was interesting, coming a day ahead of U.S. President Trump’s first visit to South Korea. They were also the first sanctions imposed by the Moon Jae-in administration.

    The 18 named were: Kang Min, Ko Chol Man, Ku Ja Hyong, Kim Kyong Il, Kim Tong Chol, Kim Sang Ho, Kim Jong Man, Kim Hyok Chol, Ri Un Song, Ri Chun Song, Ri Chun Hwan, Mun Kyong Hwan, Park Mun Il, Pak Bong Nam, Pang Su Nam, Pae Won Uk, Chu Hyok and Choe Sok Min.

    They were among a list of 26 names already designated on 26 September by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Their designation by the U.S. were for the same reasons as those given by South Korea.

    According to the South Korean announcement, 14 of those named were based in China, two were based in Libya while the remaining two were based in Russia. The institutions the 18 were affiliated to were Korea Daesong Bank, Foreign Trade Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Korea United Development Bank, Bank of East Land and ILSIM International Bank.

    [Source: NK News and Reuters]

    November 7, Japan announces further autonomous sanctions against the DPRK

    Japan announced that it will be expanding its unilateral sanctions against the DPRK. The announcement comes a day after U.S. President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to maximise pressure on the country.

    The sanctions will freeze the assets of nine organisations and 26 individuals and are a response to the continuing threat posed by the DPRK’s missile and nuclear programs, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

    The designated organisations are North Korean banks, several of them based in China, while the individuals are based in a number of nations, including China, Russia and Libya.The list of names had yet to be published but it is expected to be the same as the 26 individuals designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on 26 September. The OFAC list includes the 18 individuals designated by South Korea as part of its new autonomous sanctions announced on 6 November.

    [Sources: Reuters and NKhumanitarian Editors]

    November 7, Singapore suspends all trade ties with the DPRK

    Singapore has effectively suspended all trade with the DPRK as the UN and U.S. seek ever tougher measures against the state. Singapore Customs announced that with effect from 8 November 2017, it has prohibited all commercially traded goods from or to the DPRK, whether they are imported, exported, transhipped or brought in transit through Singapore.

    In the case of non-commercial transactions (e.g. personal or household effects or human remains being repatriated) from or to the DPRK, prohibition only applies to goods that are sanctioned under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions 2371 (2017) and 2375 (2017) as published in the Regulation of Imports and Exports (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2017. These will also take effect on the same date (8 Nov 2017).

    Individuals who contravene any of the prohibitions are guilty of an offence and may be fined and/or jailed for up to two years on the first conviction.

    Singapore, like most Asean countries, has diplomatic ties with both Koreas. The 10-member bloc ranks among the DPRK’s major trading partners. According to The Straits Times Singapore was the DPRK’s sixth largest trading partner in 2015, with bilateral trade reaching USD 29 million. Thailand was the fourth largest trade partner, after China, Russia and India.

    In coutries like Singapore, however, where in the past exporters have avoided legal scrutiny by claiming a different country of destination for their merchandise, some skepticism is needed of any official statistics about trade with the DPRK.

    Singapore’s implementation of UN Resolutions has been under the spotlight during 2017. Fuller accounts of recent “scandals” linked to the DPRK can be read in this NK News article (and the other stories linked from it). Some highlights:

    • February: The Kuala Lumpur-based military equipment company Glocom – which was revealed by Reuters in February to be controlled by North Korea’s intelligence service – is owned by a Singapore-based company called Pan Systems;
    • May: Singapore’s high court overturned part of a sentence against another Singaporean company called Chinpo Shipping. Chinpo was involved in a 2013 weapons smuggling cases between Cuba and the DPRK, when a DPRK vessel was caught attempting to move Soviet-era weapons systems, munitions and disassembled fighter jets through the Panama Canal;
    • July: Another Singapore based company, OCN (S) Pte Ltd, was revealed by NK News as being linked to the import of sanctioned luxury goods to the DPRK – products that are sold in what are reportedly known by Pyongyang locals as the “Singapore Shops;”
    • August: Two Singapore-based companies were designated by the U.S. for laundering money and purchasing oil products on behalf of the DPRk.

    There were calls for Singapore to show it is serious about enforcing UN sanctions against the DPRK by freezing the assets of both Pan Systemes and OCN. The authorities were also urged to ensure its UN sanctions legislation was up to date and to put local banks and branches on notice that “if they fail to perform due diligence to uncover customers who are fronting for North Korea, or worse, if they strip data out of wire transfer requests to conceal links to North Korea like the Bank of China did for Chinpo Shipping, they can expect to be prosecuted.”

    This is important as on the face of it Singapore’s announcement emphasises only the banning of “goods” and says nothing about services. The real importance of Singapore to the DPRK is as a hub for laundering its money and registering its front companies as noted above.

    [Sources: BBC, European Sanctions, NK News, Singapore Customs Notice and OneFreeKorea]

    November 8, China curbs tourism to DPRK ahead of visit by U.S. President Trump

    Chinese tour operators based in the border city of Dandong told to halt trips to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang and other parts of the country requiring stays of more than one day. They were only permitted to run one-day tours to Sinuiju, the North Korean city opposite Dandong, which is a popular destination for Chinese tourists making day trips.

    Most tour companies that take Chinese tourists to the DPRK are based in Dandong, the main trading hub on the Chinese side of the border. The ban is likely to have a significant economic impact on the tourits industry in Dandong which is already having to cope with the impact of earlier Chinese sanctions announcements (14 August and 23 September) restricting trade with its neighbour.

    Reuters (see sources below) quotes the Korea Maritime Institute, a think-tank in the South, who estimates that tourism generates about $44 million (USD) in annual revenue for the DPRK. About 80 percent of all the DPRK’s foreign tourists are Chinese, it says.

    Such travel restrictions by the Chinese are not unprecedented. In July the BBC reported that Beijing had sought to restrict Chinese tourists traveling to South Korea. The action was a Chinese response to the deployment in South Korea of the U.S.-manufactured and manned Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile defence system.

    [Sources: Reuters and NK News]

    November 13, European Union (EU) updates its list of ‘luxury goods’ banned from DPRK import/export

    On 16 October 2017 the Council of the European Union adopted new measures against the DPRK, implemented by Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1858, which amended Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509. The new measures further expanded the ban on EU investment in and/or with DPRK to all sectors, lowered the amount of personal remittances that could be sent to DPRK from EUR 15,000 to EUR 5,000 and imposed an oil export ban to DPRK.

    At the same meeting, the Council also invited the European Commission to review, in consultation with Member States, the list of luxury goods that are subject to an import and export ban. The review was quickly completed and the outcome was a decision to update the luxury goods list defined by Annex VIII of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509. Thus on 13 November 2017 the Council adopted Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2062 which further amended Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 accordingly.

    More information on the UN’s definition of ‘luxury goods’ and their role in UN sanctions against the DPRK can be found below. Included is the current list of categories of luxury goods defined by the EU for the purposes of sanctions against the DPRK.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    November 16, Sudan will cut all military and trade ties to the DPRK

    Sudan has said it will cut all military and trade ties to the DPRK due to the “critical threat” posed by the North’s nuclear program.

    Sudan has responded to pressure from the U.S. which has been pushing foreign countries to reduce economic, diplomatic and other ties to Pyongyang in an effort to further isolate the DPRK and bring it back to the negotiating table.

    In recent weeks, the Trump administration has been targeting African and South Asian nations and several have agreed. Sudan has been a particular focus of the effort as part of an attempt to improve ties between Washington and Khartoum that has led to a lifting of some U.S. sanctions against Sudan.

    Sudan is one of only three countries – the others are Iran and Syria – that are currently designated state sponsors of terrorism by the State Department, a label that carries economic and financial sanctions. The announcement of Sudan cutting ties with the DPRK will likely help its case to be removed from the list.

    The announcement from Khartoum came ahead of a decision expected soon for the U.S. to re-list the DPRK as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a designation that President George W. Bush’s administration removed in 2008 as it sought a diplomatic agreement to halt Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program.

    While the designations of Sudan and the DPRK are not directly related, and that reviews of both countries are proceeding independently, the determination on Sudan would likely depend on how well it implements its pledge to cut ties with the DPRK, an anonymous State Department official said.

    That concern is justified as Sudan has been here before. The country claimed in November 2016 that it had cut military ties with Pyongyang. The Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, had delivered the news to South Korea during a state visit at the time, adding that his country was fully compliant with UN resolutions targeting the DPRK.

    However the United States has welcomed this latest restatement by Sudan of its decision to cut its ties with the DPRK, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. The announcement by Sudan was made after a visit to Khartoum by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. That visit came as the U.S. and Sudan, encouraged by Israel and Saudi Arabia, moved to improve ties after decades of hostility.

    Unsurprsingly, Nauert’s statement said the U.S. “will continue engagement on this issue to ensure that this commitment [by Sudan] is fully implemented.”

    [Sources: News24 and NK News]

    November 20, U.S. President announces re-designation of the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism

    President Donald Trump has designated the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism. Mr Trump announced the move at a cabinet meeting just days after he returned from a trip to Asia where discussions with his counterparts were dominated by North Korea.

    The announcement is part of coordinated U.S. efforts to try to convince Pyongyang to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes. The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, acknowledged that the designation will impose few new sanctions beyond those already imposed. But he also said the decision sends a message to the North Korean regime about America’s resolve and hopes it will “disrupt and dissuade” certain actors from doing business with North Korea.

    The DPRK had previously been on the U.S. State Department’s list of state terrorism sponsors until 2008, when it was removed by the George W Bush administration as it sought a diplomatic agreement to halt Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program.

    The U.S. State Department says that countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include:

    1. restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance;
    2. a ban on defense exports and sales;
    3. certain controls over exports of dual use items; and
    4. miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

    Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalise persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. The DPRK joins the three countries currently designated under these authorities:

    • Iran (January 19, 1984)
    • Sudan (August 12, 1993)
    • Syria (December 29, 1979)

    The U.S. signaled the previous week that Sudan may soon be removed from the list.

    [Sources: Financial Times, CNN and U.S. State Department]

    November 21, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, targeting trading, labour, and shipping companies and vessels to further isolate the country

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned one individual (Chinese), 13 entities (4 Chinese and 9 North Korean), and 20 vessels (all North Korean) as the United States continues to take action multilaterally and unilaterally to disrupt the DPRK’s illicit funding of its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The latest sanctions target third-country persons and entities with long-standing commercial ties to the DPRK, as well as the transportation networks that facilitate the DPRK’s revenue generation and operations.

    Eleven of the latest designations were issued pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13810, which targets, among others, persons that operate in the DPRK transportation industry, as well as persons who have engaged in a significant importation from or exportation to the DPRK. The remaining entities were sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13722, which targets, among others, persons involved in the exportation of workers from the country, including exportation to generate revenue for the Government of the DPRK or its party and adminsitrative organs.

    Chinese trading companies and a Chinese individual

    • OFAC designated Dandong Kehua Economy & Trade Co., Ltd., Dandong Xianghe Trading Co., Ltd., and Dandong Hongda Trade Co. Ltd. pursuant to E.O. 13810 who, between January 1, 2013 and August 31, 2017, had cumulatively exported approximately USD 650 million worth of goods to the DPRK and cumulatively imported more than USD 100 million worth of goods from the country. These goods have included notebook computers, anthracite coal, iron, iron ore, lead ore, zinc ore, silver ore, lead, and ferrous products.
    • OFAC designated Sun Sidong and his company, Dandong Dongyuan Industrial Co., Ltd. (Dongyuan), pursuant to E.O. 13810. Sun and Dongyuan were responsible for exporting over USD 28 million worth of goods to the DPRK over several years, including motor vehicles, electrical machinery, radio navigational items, aluminum, iron, pipes, and items associated with nuclear reactors. Dongyuan has also been associated with front companies for weapons of mass destruction-related North Korean organisations.

    North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels

    • OFAC identified the Maritime Administration of the DPRK and the Ministry of Land and Maritime Transportation of the DPRK as of the Government of North Korea, pursuant to E.O. 13722.
    • OFAC also designated six North Korean shipping and trading companies pursuant to E.O. 13810 for operating in the transportation industry in the DPRK, and OFAC blocked 20 of their vessels, all of which are DPRK-flagged.

    The DPRK is known to employ deceptive shipping practices, including ship-to-ship transfers, a practice prohibited by UNSCR 2375 (September 2017). As evidence of this OFAC provides in its press release images taken on October 19, 2017, that allegedly depict a recent attempt by Korea Kumbyol Trading Company’s vessel RYE SONG GANG 1 to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer, possibly of oil, in an effort to evade sanctions.

    North Korean overseas labour revenue

    • OFAC designated Korea South-South Cooperation Corporation pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having been responsible for the exportation of workers from the DPRK, including exportation to generate revenue for the Government of the DPRK or the Workers’ Party of Korea.

    The Korea South-South Cooperation Corporation has operated in China, Russia, Cambodia, and Poland. UNSCR 2375 prohibits countries from providing work authorisations after September 11, 2017 for DPRK nationals in their jurisdictions in connection with admission to their territories unless approved in advance.

    Editor’s Note: Whether U.S. secondary sanctions are in breach of international law is still an open question but they are certainly controversial. So what are secondary sanctions? They are sometimes referred to as extra-territorial or third-country sanctions, and are designed to “leverage the strength and role of the U.S. financial system to target businesses and persons outside the typical jurisdiction of the United States. Generally, these types of sanctions focus on blocking or restricting foreign banks’ access to the U.S. financial system,” according to The Diplomat. Primary sanctions, on the other hand, apply restrictions directly to U.S. persons and companies.

    Why is China apparently the main target of U.S. secondary sanctions and what has been its reaction? We have seen above that the U.S. Department of the Treasury applies an autonomous sanctions regime that blacklist companies and people who are said to have assisted Pyongyang in developing WMDs. China’s big banks have been attempting to prevent these U.S. measures targeting them. They have reason for concern because once a person or a company is placed on the American list of prohibited entities, U.S. (and even foreign) companies can face strict penalties within the U.S. for having dealings with them. That is hugely problematic for Chinese banks and would be very destabilising to international banking and trade on which China is now so dependent.

    The problem for China is that its financial institutions have been accused of laundering funds used to facilitate the development of intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear warhead development in the DPRK. Pyongyang is said to use front companies to move money around the world via Chinese banks.

    For this reason, the Trump administration has been threatening to place major Chinese banks on the black list knowing that international sanctions against these enormous institutions could cause global economic shockwaves. China had early experience of the effect of one of its banks being sanctioned under U.S. law when the Bank of Kunlun (China) was subjected to the extra-territorial provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act in 2012 for facilitating “significant” transactions on behalf of sanctioned Iranian entities. Beijing reacted at the time by suggesting the sanctions would jeopardise U.S.-Sino relations. Despite this rhetoric, China took actions to isolate the Bank of Kunlun.

    Perhaps as a final warning to China’s banks that the U.S. threats have teeth, on August 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it was imposing sanctions on 10 companies and six people in China and Russia that it said had conducted business with the DPRK in ways that advanced the country’s missile and nuclear weapons programme.

    China’s Foreign Ministry reacted saying its government had fully implemented U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea and would punish anyone caught violating the Security Council sanctions under Chinese law. It added that it opposed sanctions outside the framework of the Security Council: “China especially opposes any country conducting ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ over Chinese entities and individuals,” said a spokeswoman. “Measures taken by the United States are not helpful in solving the problem and unhelpful to mutual trust and cooperation. We ask the United States to stop the relevant wrong practices immediately.”

    Almost immediately after the imposition of these autonomous U.S. sanctions, the DPRK provoked the international community by firing three short-range missiles followed three days later by launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan. Then on September 3, 2017, the DPRK carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

    Although China was as genuinely angered as the rest of the world by these provocative acts by its neighbour, the threat Chinese banks most feared inevitably became a reality. On November 2, 2017 the U.S. announced further autonomous sanctions, this time designating the relatively small Bank of Dandong in China for acting “as a conduit for North Korea to access the US and international financial systems, including by facilitating millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s WMD and ballistic missile programs.”

    China knows that its big banks could not afford to face similar moves. According to the BBC, the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank Of China, had ordered that “all bank activities related to North Korea are suspended now because it is a sanctioned country.” While banks would not open any new accounts for that country’s citizens and businesses, it was unclear the extent to which existing accounts related to North Korea could still be used or potentially forced to close.

    Although China has said it opposes any country conducting ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ over Chinese entities and individuals, it has been less clear about its views on the legality within international law of secondary sanctions. This may in part be because, as the Washington Post notes, that China, despite its professed opposition to unilateral sanctions, has not hesitated to punish countries through trade if they refuse to do Beijing’s bidding. It describes how China is engaged in a major blockade of South Korean companies because it opposes the deployment of the U.S.-manned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea. Other countries, however, have been more forthright on the issue of legality and have asserted that unilateral secondary sanctions from the U.S. are illegal. In July 2017, France’s foreign ministry said new U.S. penalties against Iran and Russia appeared at odds with international law due to their extra-territorial reach. Germany also signaled the U.S. sanctions against Russia were “a violation of international law” with the German economy minister being quoted as saying the European Commission should consider counter-measures.

    China’s opposition to sanctions against the DPRK outside the framework of the Security Council (specifically autonomous U.S. secondary sanctions) has been made clear. However they were imposed by the U.S. precisely because some UN member states have not been stringently enforcing the overarching UN sanctions. The UN does not have ‘sanctions police’ of its own that can enter countries to enforce sanctions. Rather it relies on the good faith of member states but often in the case of China, which is the main conduit for the DPRK’s trade to the rest of the world, “a lot of the enforcement doesn’t happen unfortunately,” explained one analyst.

    There are signs that China is losing patience with its neighbour and that we are seeing a quiet but much more robust application by China of the UN sanctions against the DPRK. The entries on this sanctions timeline may in time clarify whether this is actually the case.

    [Sources: OFAC Press Release, CNBC, Reuters #1, Reuters #2, BBC, The Washington Post and The Diplomat]

    November 21, Angola “deports” dozens of North Korean workers from its territory

    According to NK News – read here for the full story – the workers were employed by the sanctioned North Korean company Mansudae.

    A group of fifty North Koreans had reportedly left Luanda on 20 November and followed a separate group of “dozens” of workers which departed the day prior.

    Angola’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Manual Augusto, reportedly said that the “repatriation” of the North Korean workers was done “in strict compliance with UN resolutions, in particular the sanctions applied to some companies and also affecting the company that works here in our country.”

    UNSC Resolution 2375 (11 September 2017) prohibits member states from granting work authorisations for North Korean nationals though this does not apply to contracts already finalised prior to the date of adoption of the resolution.

    However the NK News story notes that, regardless of the expulsion of North Korean workers due to the end of their contracts, Angola was likely in breach of UN Security Council sanctions for not expelling them sooner. The company for which they allegedly worked, the Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies, was designated by UNSCR 2371 (August 2016) and therefore ongoing operations in Angola, would constitute a breach of UN sanctions.

    UNSCR 2371, which designated Mansudae, describes the Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies (MOP) as having “engaged in, facilitated, or was responsible for the exportation of workers from the DPRK to other nations for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the Government of the DPRK or the Workers’ Party of Korea.”

    [Source: NK News]

    November 29, DPRK conducts night test of a long-range ballistic missile, its most powerful ICBM launch so far

    The DPRK said it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. Unusually, it was conducted as a night test and was the first missile test by the DPRK since 15 September.

    Initial reports from Seoul suggested that the missile came from a mobile launcher, and was fired at about 3am local time (29 September). It was reported to have flown for 50 minutes, on a very high trajectory reaching 4,500 km (2,800 miles) above the earth before coming down nearly 1,000 km from the launch site off the west coast of Japan in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The height reached by the missile was more than ten times higher than the orbit of Nasa’s International Space Station.

    This would make it the most powerful of the three intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s) North Korea has tested so far. Experts suggested that if it traveled on a normal ICBM trajectory, rather than a high lofted one as in this test, the missile would have a range of 13,000 km, enough to reach Washington, the rest of the U.S. west coast, Europe or Australia.

    It is interesting that the mobile night launch appeared aimed at testing new capabilities and demonstrating that Pyongyang would be able to strike back to any attempt at a preventative strike against the regime.

    “It went higher frankly than any previous shot they’ve taken,” the U.S. defence secretary James Mattis, told reporters. “It’s a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten anywhere in the world.” Mattis added the North Korean missile programme “threatens world peace, regional peace and certainly the United States”.

    According to a statement read out on North Korean state run television, “After watching the successful launch of the new type ICBM Hwasong-15, Kim Jong-un declared with pride that now we have finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power.”

    The statement also described the DPRK as a “responsible nuclear power”, saying its strategic weapons were developed to defend itself from “the U.S. imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat.”

    [Sources: Reuters, CNN and BBC]

    December 7, Australia amends its autonomous DPRK sanctions list, designating 11 persons and 9 entities

    The Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) List 2012 was amended by the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Amendment List 2017 (No 3) [which was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on November 27, 2017].

    The general purpose of such amendments is to designate persons or entities who:

    • are, or have been, associated with the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme or missiles programmes; and/or
    • are assisting, or have assisted, in the violation or evasion by the DPRK of UN Security Council Resolution 825, 1540, 1695, 1718, 1874, 1887, 2087, 2094, 2270 or 2321, or of a relevant subsequent resolution.

    The purpose of such a designation is to subject the designated person or entity to targeted financial sanctions and possible travel ban.

    This latest amendment includes five schedules that update the autonomous sanctions list mentioned above and impose financial and travel restrictions on the following eleven persons and nine entities who have been associated with the DPRK’s WMD or missile programmes and/or have assisted in the violation or evasion by the DPRK of Resolution 825, 1540, 1695, 1718, 1874, 1887, 2087, 2094, 2270 or 2321 of the United Nations Security Council.

    The persons are:

    • Kang Chun-Il
    • Ch’oe So’k-min
    • Mun Kyong Hwan
    • Kim Tong-chol
    • Ruben Ruslanovich Kirakosyan
    • Kim Kwang-myong
    • Kim Tong Chol
    • Ko Chol Man
    • Ri Chun Song
    • Ji Sang Jun
    • Chu Hyo’k

    The entities are:

    • Paeksol Trading Corporation
    • Taeryonggang Trading Corporation
    • Agricultural Development Bank
    • Hana Banking Corporation Limited
    • Gefest-M LLC
    • Cheil Credit Bank
    • Jinsong Joint Bank
    • Dalian Global Unity Shipping Company Ltd
    • Dandong Zhicheng Metallic Materials Company Limited

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and Federal Register of Legislation – Explanatory Note]

    December 10, South Korea announces further autonomous sanctions affecting 20 entities and 12 individuals in the DPRK

    The South Korean government announced fresh autonomous sanctions against 20 North Korean entities and 12 North Korean individuals. The new measures, that became effective the following day (11 December), were Seoul’s second set of unilateral sanctions in a month.

    Like the previous autonomous sanctions announcement in November, which designated 18 individuals linked to DPRK’s banking system, this latest announcement is ostensibly aimed at limiting financial activities linked to the development of the DPRK’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons. It was a way of “firmly responding to North Korea’s provocations,” the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a message distributed to reporters.

    “The designated entities and individuals are engaged in activities including financing the development of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their illegal trade is subject to sanctions.”

    It is unclear what impact the new designations will have. Seoul’s sanctions will bar South Korean individuals and entities from transacting with those individulas and entities on the list but it will be largely symbolic given a lack of inter-Korean economic ties. Furthermore, no details about potential penalties for South Korean citizens who breach the new measures were revealed.

    NK News provides more detail on how these latest South Korean designations mirror recent U.S sanctions measures aimed at restricting the DPRK’s access to the U.S. and international financial system. As such, the main purpose of Seoul’s latest announcement may be to serve as a reminder to both South Koreans and the international community of the risks of transacting with the designated organisations and individuals.

    [Sources: Yonhap News Agency and NK News]

    December 12, Canada’s FINTRAC issues alert on DPRK’s use of the International Financial System for money laundering/terrorist financing

    Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) has issued an Operational Alert the purpose of which is to inform Canadian reporting entities of money laundering/terrorist financing patterns, indicators and risk areas related to the DPRK’s suspected money laundering and terrorist financing activity.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    December 15, Japan imposes new autonomous sanctions on 19 North Korean entities

    Japan announced that it will impose additional sanctions by freezing the assets of 19 North Korean entities in order to step up pressure on the DPRK to return Japanese citizens that it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s and to halt its nuclear weapons and missile development, reports Associated Press (AP).

    The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the entities designated are involved in financial services, coal and minerals trading, transportation, and in dispatching North Korean workers abroad. All the organisations have previously been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) it added.

    AP says that Japan has now frozen the assets of 103 companies and organisations and 108 individuals under either its own autonomous sanctions or Security Council resolutions. Of those totals, 56 entities and 62 individuals were autonomous sanctions.

    The announcement of these latest autonomous sanctions comes just over a month since Tokyo designated nine North Korean entities and 26 individuals working in third countries.

    [Sources: Associated Press (AP), NK News and European Sanctions]

    December 19, U.S. seeks UN blacklisting of 10 vessels over DPRK sanctions violations

    The United States has proposed that the UN Security Council blacklist 10 ships for transporting banned items to/from the DPRK, according to documents seen by Reuters. The vessels are accused of “conducting illegal ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or illegally transporting North Korean coal to other countries for export,” the United States said in its proposal.

    If none of the 15 members of the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee (often referred to as the 1718 Sanctions Committee) object to the ships being designated by December 21, the U.S. proposal will be approved. Countries are required to ban designated ships from entering their ports.

    In fact China, one of the members of the sanctions committe, did object – see December 21 timeline entry below.

    The U.S. move comes after the UN blacklisted four ships in October for carrying coal from the DPRK, including one, the Jie Shun that in August 2016 was stopped by Egyptian customs as it entered the Suez Canal and found to be smuggling 30,000 North Korean-made rocket-propelled grenades. The customs operation came after U.S. intelligence agencies had notified Egyptian officials.

    The 10 ships on the blacklist proposed by the U.S. are:

    • Xin Sheng Hai (flag unknown);
    • Lighthouse Winmore (Hong Kong registered);
    • Yu Yuan (Togo registered);
    • Glory Hope 1 (also known as Orient Shenyu, Panama registered);
    • Kai Xiang (Panama registered);
    • Billions No. 18 (Panama registered);
    • Ul Ji Bong 6 (North Korea registered);
    • Rung Ra 2 (North Korea registered);
    • Rye Song Gang 1 (North Korea registered);
    • Sam Jong 2 (North Korea registered).

    Further interesting details about the vessels and their activities, including imagery purporting to show ship-to-ship cargo transfer, can be found on the NK News site.

    [Source Reuters]

    December 20, Burkina Faso to ban imports from the DPRK and conform with UN sanctions

    Burkina Faso joins Sudan, Singapore and the Philippines in announcing that it has limited or ceased its trade and/or military ties with the DPRK. Burkina Faso’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Alpha Barry, said the country would ban imports from the DPRK to conform with UN sanctions resolutions targeting the DPRK.

    Minister Barry said the move comes in response to a reminder from Washington in October, asking why Burkina Faso was still trading with the DPRK despite the UN Security Council calling on all Member States to redouble efforts to implement in full the measures contained in the nine DPRK sanctions resolutions adopted to that date.

    According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), 93 percent by value of the imports from the DPRK in 2015 were petoleum products valued at USD 30.4 million. However Leo Byrne writing in NK News questions this, noting that North Korean imports and exports are sometimes confused with those that should be attributed to South Korea.

    Byrn observes that the DPRK, with limited refinery capacity and dependent on China and Russia for its crude and refined oil imports (which are limited by UN sanctions), is unlikely to have a surplus which it can export. In contrast, he points out, South Korea is home to three of the world’s ten largest oil refineries and exported USD 24 billion in refined petroleum products in 2016.

    [Sources: NK News and VOA News]

    December 21, China objects to U.S. request to UN to blacklist 10 vessels over DPRK sanctions violations

    China raised objections to the U.S. request to the Security Council to blacklist ten ships for carrying banned cargo to/from the DPRK, saying it needed more time to examine the measure, diplomats said.

    The UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee had set a deadline of December 21 for objections from members of the committee to the U.S. proposals. The committee was due to meet that afternoon for a vote but China came forward and said it needed more time to study the request. It will now be considered for approval on December 28.

    China’s move to delay the measure came as the U.S. circulated a new draft sanctions resolution that would further restrict supplies of crude oil and refined peteroleum products to the DPRK.

    [Sources: GMA News Online and NK News]

    December 21, Angola confirms it has terminated all contracts with Mansudae Overseas Project Group (MOP)

    Angola has submitted its National Implementation Report pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 2321 (2016), 2356 (2016), 2371 (2017), and 2375 (2017). The Note verbale, dated 21 November 2017 from the Permanent Mission of Angola to the United Nations, addressed to the Chair of the [1718 Sanctions] Committee, confirms that the country has terminated its contracts with the Mansudae Angola Group and that Mansudae had ceased all activities in Angola on 13 November 2017. It added that the company’s workers and employees “were invited to leave the national territory [of Angola].”

    UNSCR 2371 (2017), which designated Mansudae, describes the Mansudae Overseas Project Group of Companies (MOP) as having “engaged in, facilitated, or was responsible for the exportation of workers from the DPRK to other nations for construction-related activities including for statues and monuments to generate revenue for the Government of the DPRK or the Workers’ Party of Korea.”

    NK News has recently posted two articles here and here that provide interesting background and detail about Angola and MOP and about the long-standing relationship between the DPRK and Angola.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    December 22, UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2397 further tightening sanctions on the DPRK

    The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted sanctions resolution 2397 to further tighten and deepen sanctions against the DPRK in response to its ballistic missile launch late last month.

    The headline decisions were:

    • to prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer [including via ship-to-ship transfer] to the DPRK of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and various types of equipment and raw materials.
    • that Member States shall repatriate all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction and all DPRK government safety oversight attachés monitoring DPRK workers abroad “immediately but no later than 24 months,” unless the Member State determined that the national’s repatriation is prohibited under applicable national and international law, or if that national is a national of that Member State.
    • that in relation to maritime interdiction of cargo vessels, the Council decided that Member States shall seize, inspect, and impound any vessel in their ports if the Member State has reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by relevant UN resolutions.

    The “prohibition” on the export of crude oil to the DPRK is effectively a cap limiting supply to the current level of 4 million barrels or 525,000 tons in the aggregate per twelve month period. In addition, all Member States providing crude oil must provide a report to the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee every 90 days from the date of adoption of the resolution of the amount of crude oil provided to the DPRK.

    Similarly the resolution bans nearly 90 percent of refined petroleum product exports to the DPRK, by setting a ceiling of 500,000 barrels during a period of 12 months beginning Jan. 1, 2018. It provides for the same amount in 12-month periods thereafter with conditions.

    As an important measure to cut the source of funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, the resolution requires UN member states to repatriate all DPRK nationals earning income abroad immediately, but no later than 24 months from the date of adoption of this resolution.

    The resolution expands sectoral sanctions by adding to the bans on DPRK exports of food and agricultural products; machinery; electrical equipment; earth and stone, including magnesite and magnesia; wood and vessels.

    It introduces a ban on the supply of industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and iron, steel, and other metals to the DPRK (except spare parts needed to maintain the safe operation of DPRK commercial civilian passenger aircraft).

    The resolution provides for measures to stop ships from illegally providing oil to the DPRK through ship-to-ship transfers and smuggling DPRK coal and other prohibited commodities by sea. Member states may seize, inspect or impound any vessel in their territorial waters, should they have reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by Security Council resolutions.

    The resolution designates sixteen new individuals, most of them DPRK overseas bank representatives, and one entity, the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces which manages the general administrative and logistical needs of the Korean People’s Army. These are to be added to the Consolidated UN Security Council Sanctions List for a global asset freeze and travel ban.

    The resolution states that additional tests of nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles by the DPRK would result in further restrictions on its import of petroleum.

    Editor’s Note 1: The inclusion of “transportation vehicles” in these latest sanctions highlights the challenge of enforcing sanctions to curb the DPRK’s weapons program. Since 2006, UN sanctions have banned the shipment of military hardware to North Korea. But control of equipment and vehicles that have “dual-use” military and civilian applications has been far less stringent.

    The transporter erecter launcher (TEL) that carried the Hwasong-15 ICBM tested in November has nine axles, making it one axle longer than the TEL used to launch the previous iteration of the intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea claims to have made these trucks itself, but analysts believe they are modified versions or based on the Chinese lumber truck, the WS51200.

    The eight axle lumber trucks from which this later TEL is modified or derived were imported from China and declared for civilian use by the North Korean foreign ministry, according to a 2013 report by the UN Panel of Experts (which supports the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee).

    Editor’s Note 2: Resolution 2397 is the tenth Security Council resolution that contains sanctions against the DPRK since 2006, when it carried out its first ever nuclear weapon test. It is the fourth such resolution in 2017 alone.

    [Sources: UN Security Council Press Release – full text of resolution, UN Security Council Press Release – summary, Xinhuanet, The Washington Post, Reuters and European Sanctions]

    December 23, Australia updates its Consolidated List adding 16 individuals and 1 entity designated in UN Security Council Resolution 2397

    Australia’s Consolidated List is a list of all persons and entities who are subject to targeted financial sanctions or travel bans under Australian sanctions laws. The Consolidated List is maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

    As the Consolidated List includes all persons and entities to which the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 and the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 currently applies, it has been updated to add the sixteen individuals and one entity designated by Security Council Resolution 2397 (December 2017) for an asset freeze and/or travel ban.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    December 26, U.S. expands sanctions against DPRK, designating two DPRK officials involved with unlawful weapons prgrammes

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two North Korean individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13687, which targets, among others, officials of the Government of the DPRK and the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). The actions was in response to the DPRK’s unlawful weapons programs as highlighted in the latest UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2397 adopted on December 22.

    The two DPRK senior officials sanctioned by OFAC are members of the UN- and U.S.-designated WPK Munitions Industry Department (MID). Kim Jong Sik and Ri Pyong Chol were designated by UNSCR 2397.

    The MID is responsible for overseeing the DPRK’s ballistic missile programmes and was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State in 2010 pursuant to E.O. 13382. Kim Jong Sik is reportedly a key figure in the DPRK’s ballistic missile development, including efforts to switch from liquid to solid fuel, and Ri Pyong Chol is reported to be a key official involved in North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile development.

    [Sources: OFAC Notice and Press Release]

    December 27, United Kingdom issues temporary Financial Sanctions Notice applying an asset freeze to 16 individuals and 1 entity designated in UN Security Council Resolution 2397

    The UN Security Council’s sanctions list was updated as required by the designation of 16 individuals and 1 entity among the sanctions measures adopted in Security Council Resolution 2397 (December 22, 2017).

    By virtue of the UK’s United Nations and European Union Financial Sanctions (Linking) Regulations 2017, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued this Financial Sanctions Notice, the Annex of which provides identifying information for the 16 individuals and 1 entity so that an asset freeze applies to them in the UK.

    Note that this asset freeze and listing on the Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK is a temporary measure that will expire on January 21, 2018, unless these entries are listed by that date under Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 [<strong<Update: They were, see January 8, 2018 entry].

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    December 27, Switzerland applies an asset freeze to 16 individuals and 1 entity designated in UN Security Council Resolution 2397

    The UN Security Council’s sanctions list was updated as required by the designation of 16 individuals and 1 entity among the sanctions measures adopted in Security Council Resolution 2397 (December 2017).

    The UN designations and accompanying asset freeze for the 16 individuals and 1 entity are directly applicable in Switzerland so the SESAM database (SECO Sanctions Management) was amended on December 27, 2017. Information in German about the change is available on the website of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

    Financial Intermediaries in Switzerland are required to immediately block the relevant assets and to report such business relationships to SECO and to the Money Laundering Reporting Office pursuant to Art. 9 of the Money Laundering Act.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)]

    December 28, South Korea seized and inspected a Hong Kong-registered ship in November for transferring oil products to a North Korean vessel

    South Korea seized and inspected a Hong Kong-registered ship in November for transferring oil products to a North Korean vessel and breaching UN sanctions, a foreign ministry official said.

    Yonhap reported that a Hong Kong-registered vessel the Lighthouse Winmore had been seized and inspected by South Korean authorities after secretly transferring 600 tons of oil to a North Korean vessel in international waters in a ship-to-ship transfer on November 19. Such activity is prohibited by UNSCR 2375 (September 2017) which prohibits UN member states from facilitating or engaging in ship-to-ship transfers to or from DPRK-flagged vessels of any goods or items that are being supplied, sold, or transferred to or from the DPRK and UNSCR 2397 (December 2017) which went further and authorised Member States to seize, inspect, freeze and impound any vessel in their territorial waters found to be illicitly providing oil to the DPRK through ship-to-ship transfers, or smuggling coal and other prohibited commodities from the country.

    The Korea Customs Service seized the ship for investigation when it returned to Yeosu Port on November 24. In their search of the vessel, the South Korean Customs Service secured navigation logs and testimony from the crew that the oil transaction was ordered through the vessel’s captain by the Taiwanese group chartering the vessel it is claimed.

    South Korea will be keeping the Hong Kong-flagged vessel for about six months, during which time Hong Kong is expected to file a request for the ship’s release with the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee on North Korea.

    The ship was chartered by Taiwanese company Billions Bunker Group and previously visited South Korea’s Yeosu Port on October 11 to load up on Japanese refined petroleum and head to its claimed destination in Taiwan four days later.

    Instead of going to Taiwan, however, the vessel transferred the oil to a North Korean ship, the Sam Jong 2, and three other non-North Korean vessels in international waters in the East China Sea, Yonhap reported South Korean authorities as saying.

    “The actions taken will be reported to the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee on North Korea in the future,” the same authoriities said, adding that “This marks a typical case of North Korea shrewdly circumventing UN Security Council sanctions by using its illegal networks.”

    The timing by South Korea of the announcement of its November seizure and its “detection of the illegal transaction” involving the Lighthouse Winmore is significant and may have been designed to put pressure on China ahead of a meeting of the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee which was due to meet today.

    The meeting was to vote on the proposal by the U.S. to blacklist 10 named vessels for sanctions breaking activities. The Lighthouse Winmore was one of the vessels on the U.S. list. The embrassassment for China is that it is also one of the 6 vessels it had requested on December 21 to be removed from the U.S. list.

    China has denied facilitating oil shipments to the DPRK in violation of UN Security Council sanctions, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Beijing of doing so.

    “China has been completely and strictly implementing Security Council resolutions and fulfilling our international obligations,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on December 29 at a media briefing. “We will never allow Chinese citizens and enterprises to engage in activities that violate Security Council resolutions.”

    Despite China’s insistence the sanctions are being enforced, doubts persist in the U.S., South Korea and Japan that loopholes continue to exist and are being exploited with the help of middlemen in China.

    [Sources: Yonhap (LEAD), Yonhap (2nd LEAD), VOA News, NK News #1 and NK News #2]

    December 28, U.S. proposal to blacklist 10 ships reduced to 4 by UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee after objections from China

    A meeting of the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designated 4 vessels pursuant to Paragraph 6 of Resolution 2375 (2017).

    The 1718 Sanctions Committee meeting had been originally scheduled to meet on 21 December to discuss a proposal by the U.S. to designate 10 vessels the U.S. claimed had been involved in UN sanctions violations. However it had been put back to 28 December after China asked for a delay because, it said, it needed more time to study the U.S. proposal. China had made it clear that it objected to the inclusion of 6 of the vessels on the U.S. list.

    A vessel, the Lighthouse Winmore, that had been seized and inspected by the South Korean Customs Service in November for secretly transferring 600 tons of oil to a North Korean vessel in international waters in a ship-to-ship transfer, was one of the 6 vessels that China wanted removed from the U.S. list.

    The 4 vessels eventually designated by the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee are all from the original U.S list of 10. The 4 vessels are:

    • Billions No. 18 (IMO: 9191773);
    • Ul Ji Bong 6 (IMO: 9114555);
    • Rung Ra 2 (IMO: 9020534);
    • Rye Song Gang 1 (IMO: 7389704).

    The list of all vessels designated by the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee is here.

    [Source: UN Security Councl Press Release]

    December 31, South Korea confirms it has seized and inspected a Panama-registered ship suspected of transferring oil products to DPRK

    The South Korean Customs Service have seized a second vessel suspected of transferring oil products to the DPRK in violation of international sanctions (first seizure details here). The Panama-flagged vessel, the KOTI, was seized at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the west coast, south of Incheon.

    The KOTI’s estimated time of arrival at the port was December 19, according to a vessel tracking service provider.

    The ship can carry 5,100 tonnes of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, Yonhap News Agency reported, adding that South Korea’s intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.

    Update January 3, 2018: According to an article in NK News, despite the KOTI being flagged in Panama, it is owned by Chinese nationals tied to DPRK weapons proliferation. NK News have identified three Chinese individuals who together have owned and operated a number of companies and vessels often found at the forefront of the DPRK’s smuggling networks.

    It appears it is for this reason that the South Korean Customs Service decided against releasing the 5100-tonne tanker on December 21 and is holding it in Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port. The earlier seizure by South Korea of the Hong Kong-registered Lighthouse Winmore in November also resulted in that vessel being held at a South Korean port while the authorities filed a request for the ship’s release with the UN Security Council’s sanctions committee on North Korea.

    The NK News article describes in detail how the links of these three Chinese nationals to the recently-seized KOTI highlight the ways in which the DPRK’s foreign partners reconfigure their business interests to circumvent evolving sanctions regimes. What seems extraordinary is that companies connected to these three individuals have made regular appearances in UN Panel of Experts (PoE) reports as a result of their alleged illicit activities so it begs the question as to why China, with a huge security apparatus devoted to monitoring and controlling the activities of its citizenry and businesses, have failed to detect and stop these sanctions breakers.

    China’s foreign ministry has so far been able to dismiss the reports of Chinese involvement in the sanctions breaking activities of the KOTI by pointing to the ship’s registration in Panama.

    “According to what I know, the ship is Panama-flagged,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang is reported by NK News as saying at a regular press briefing in Beijing at the beginning of January.

    “China’s attitude is very clear, and we have always stood for the comprehensive and strict implementation of all the DPRK-related resolutions adopted by the Security Council.”

    However China is also well aware that the DPRK and its network of trusted foreign nationals have long used foreign jurisdictions, flag registries, and paper companies abroad to evade sanctions and international scrutiny.

    [Sources: Yonhap (LEAD) and Reuters]

    2018

    January 3, United Kingdom issues temporary Financial Sanctions Notice applying an asset freeze to 4 vessels linked to the DPRK

    On 28 December 2017 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee approved the addition of 4 North Korean vessels to its list of individuals and entities subject to an asset freeze.

    The 4 vessels are:

    • Billions No. 18 (IMO: 9191773);
    • Ul Ji Bong 6 (IMO: 9114555);
    • Rung Ra 2 (IMO: 9020534);
    • Rye Song Gang 1 (IMO: 7389704).

    By virtue of the UK’s United Nations and European Union Financial Sanctions (Linking) Regulations 2017, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued this Financial Sanctions Notice, the Annex of which provides identifying information for these 4 vessels so that an asset freeze applies to them in the UK.

    The regulation and the notice referred to above also have the effect of applying this information to update the Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets in the UK.

    Note that both the asset freezes and listings are made on a temporary basis and will expire on 27 January 2018, unless the vessels are listed by that date under Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 [<strong<Update: They were, see 15 January 2018 entry].

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    January 3, Canada updates OFSI web site adding 16 individuals and 1 entity designated in UN Security Council Resolution 2397

    Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) regulates and supervises more than 400 federally regulated financial institutions all banks in Canada, and all federally incorporated or registered trust and loan companies, insurance companies, cooperative credit associations, fraternal benefit societies and private pension plans.

    In that role it is responsible for monitoring the application of the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (RIUNRDPRK) which requires every federally regulated financial institution to review its records on a continuing basis for the names of individuals or entities covered by the RIUNRDPRK (Designated Persons).

    On 22 December 2017, the UN Security Council announced that the 1718 Sanctions Committee approved the addition of sixteen individuals and one entity to its Consolidated List of individuals and entities. The tables posted on the OSFI Web site have been updated to incorporate the amendments to the UN Sanctions Committee’s Consolidated List.

    [Sources: OFSI Notice]

    January 4, U.S. designates 11 countries, including the DPRK, for ‘violations of religious freedom’

    In accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the U.S. Secretary of State annually designates governments that have “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom as ‘Countries of Particular Concern.'”

    On this day the Department of State announced that the Secretary of State had re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as ‘Countries of Particular Concern.’ The Secretary of State also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom. The re-designations were made on December 22, 2017.

    According to barrister Michael O’Kane who is a specialist in handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, governments designated in this way by the U.S. face potential sanctions under section 405 of the above Act, including an order prohibiting U.S. agencies from issuing specific licences to them under various U.S. statutes (e.g. the Export Administration Act of 1979, the Arms Export Control Act, or the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, etc).

    [Sources: U.S. Department of State Press Statement and European Sanctions]

    January 5, China to implement latest UN sanctions against the DPRK

    China’s Ministry of Commerce said it will implement the latest UN Security Council’s sanctions on the DPRK which are set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2397 (December 2017).

    The measures to be aopted include a complete export ban of iron, steel and other metals, as well as industrial machinery and transport vehicles. The inclusion of “transport vehicles” is significant as it is claimed that the DPRK has converted some of these to missile transporter erector vehicles (TELs).

    China will limit exports of oil and refined petroleum products to the DPRK and, starting January 6, 2018, China will also ban the import from the DPRK of some food, agricultural products, metals – including magnesite and magnesium oxide – wood, industrial machinery, electrical equipment and vessels, the statement added.

    [Sources: Global Times and European Sanctions]

    January 8, European Union (EU) applies sanctions to 16 individuals and 1 entity designated in UN Security Council Resolution 2397

    The Council of the European Union adopted Council Implementing Regulation 2018/12 which added sixteen persons and one entity to Annex XIII of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 which applies restrictive measures relating to the DPRK – see link for details of the seventeen designations.

    This was the EU’s response to UN Security Council Resolution 2397(2017) [December 22, 2017] which added sixteen persons and one entity to the list of entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures for breaches of DPRK sanctions.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    January 12, European Union (EU) designates 4 vessels linked to the DPRK pursuant to paragraph 6 of UNSCR 2375

    As noted in the December 28, 2017 entry, the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designated 4 vessels pursuant to paragraph 6 of UN Resolution 2375 (2017).

    The Council of the European Union has implemented this decision by adding the 4 vessels to its DPRK sanctions list of vessels subject to restrictive measures (Annex XIV to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509). The 4 vessels are:

    • Billions No. 18 (IMO: 9191773);
    • Ul Ji Bong 6 (IMO: 9114555);
    • Rung Ra 2 (IMO: 9020534);
    • Rye Song Gang 1 (IMO: 7389704).

    See Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/58 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/53.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    January 15, United Kingdom (UK) issues updated Financial Sanctions Notice applying an asset freeze to 4 vessels linked to the DPRK

    The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued this updated Financial Sanctions Notice. The Notice makes permanent the temporary asset freezes and listings notified in its January 3, 2018, Notice referring to the same vessels. It follows the designation by the EU of the 4 vessels under Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    January 15, Australia renews travel ban and asset freeze on 11 persons and 10 entities previously designated by autonomous sanctions against the DPRK

    The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs has issued the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Continuing Effect Declaration 2018 (the “DPRK List”).

    The DPRK List renews the targeted financial sanctions and, where relevant, the travel bans that would otherwise lapse on 11 persons and 10 entities.

    Designated persons and entities are listed in the current compilation of the Autonomous Sanctions (Designated Persons and Entities – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) List 2012.

    [Source: Australia’s Federal Register of Legislation]

    January 16, Twenty countries meet in Vancouver to consider tougher sanctions against the DPRK

    The U.S. and Canada co-hosted the Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula. Twenty nations (including the co-hosting nations, the UK, France, Japan, India and South Korea – full list here) pledged to the “full and effective implementation of existing [UN] sanctions on North Korea”. Furthermore, they collectively agreed “to consider and take steps to impose unilateral sanctions and further diplomatic actions that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions”. Summary of meeting here.

    Despite being permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia did not participate in the meeting.

    [Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

    January 22, European Union (EU) adopts autonomous sanctions against 17 DPRK nationals involved in sanctions evasion

    The EU has acted autonomously to designate 17 North Korean individuals who it has identified “due to their involvement in illegal trade activities and activities aimed at facilitating the evasion of sanctions imposed by the UN, including from abroad.” At least four of those designated are either accredited diplomats or who travel on diplomatic passports.

    The 17 individuals have been added to the EU’s list of those subject to an asset freeze and travel restrictions. The autonomous listings in this case come in addition to those drawn up by the United Nations, and thus complement and reinforce the UN sanctions regime, says the EU.

    See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/89 amending Annex III to Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/87 amending Annex XVI to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and Council of the EU Press Release]

    January 23, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice applying an asset freeze to 17 DPRK nationals involved in sanctions evasion

    The UK has transposed into its own law the autonomous sanctions against 17 North Koreans adopted by the EU on January 22, 2018 when Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 was amended.

    The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury did this by issuing a Financial Sanctions Notice applying an asset freeze to the 17 North Koreans listed in the appendix of the Notice.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    January 24, U.S. expands DPRK sanctions, designating 9 entities, 16 individuals, and 6 vessels

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned nine entities, sixteen individuals, and six vessels in response to the DPRK’s ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and continued violations of United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) – see OFAC Press Release link below for full details.

    OFAC is calling for the expulsion of “illicit [North Korean] actors” from China, Russia and Georgia who have been “working on behalf of North Korean financial networks” in contravention of UNSCRs. The OFAC Press Release notes that in UNSCR 2321 (November 2016), the UN Security Council decided that, if a Member State determines that an individual is working on behalf of or at the direction of a DPRK bank or financial institution, then Member States shall expel the individual from their territories. Four of the 5 were based in China (Shenyang, Dalian) with the fifth in Russia (Vladivostok).

    Of the 16 North Korean individuals, 11 were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) <a href="13687 [Imposing additional sanctions on the DPRK – President Trump] as representatives of WMD-related entities and being officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea. 10 of the 11 were identified as North Korean representatives of the Korea Ryonbong General Corporation (Ryongbong), an entity already sanctioned by both the UN and the U.S.

    Ryongbong specialises in purchasing and sales for North Korean defense industries. Seven of the 10 North Koreans linked to Ryongbong were based in China (Tumen, Dandong, Ji’an, Linjiang and Zhuhai), 2 in Russia (Nakhodka, Vladivostok) and 1 in Georgia/Abkhazia.

    The remaining 5 of the 16 North Koreans were designated pursuant to E.O. 13810 or 13687 [Imposing additional sanctions on the DPRK – President Obama] as representatives of North Korean financial networks.

    In addition to the 16 individuals referred to above, OFAC also designated 9 entities – see also NK News link below for more background.

    • Three Chinese and North Korean Trading Companies (pursuant to
      E.O. 13810[Imposing additional sanctions on the DPRK]):
      1. Beijing Chengxing Trading Co. Ltd.
      2. Dandong Jinxiang Trade Co., Ltd.
      3. Hana Electronics JVC – one of the DPRK’s only electronics companies.
    • Five North Korean shipping companies (pursuant to E.O. 13810):
      1. Gooryong Shipping Co Ltd.
      2. Hwasong Shipping Co Ltd.
      3. Korea Kumunsan Shipping Co
      4. Korea Marine & Industrial Trdg.
      5. CK International Ltd.
    • One Oil-related organisation:
      1. The North Korean Ministry of Crude Oil Industry (which handles crude oil for North Korea)

    OFAC also blocked six vessels as property in which the above shipping companies have an interest. Note that some of these were already designated by the UN Security Council DPRK Sanctions Committe – see December 8, 2017, et seq.

    • Goo Ryong (IMO: 8201870) – General cargo;
    • Hwa Song (IMO: 8217685) – General cargo;
    • Kum Un San (IMO: 8720436) – Oil products tanker;
    • Un Ryul (IMO: 8514409) – General cargo;
    • Ever Gory (IMO: 8909915) – General cargo;
    • Ul Ji Bong 6 (IMO: 9114555) – General cargo;

    [Sources: OFAC Press Release and NK News]

    January 25, Equatorial Guinea issues its first sanctions implementation report, calls for suspension of business dealings with DPRK

    According to Hamish Macdonald in NK News, Equatorial Guinea has notified the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee that it will be informing all companies with ties to North Korea that they must cease their relationships.

    Macdonald says the report marks the first time that Equatorial Guinea has filed an implementation report for UN Security Council sanctions against the DPRK, despite being required to do so.

    On January 2, 2018, Equatorial Guinea became one of the six new members of the UN Security Council where it will serve a 2 year term. The uploading of its first ever sanctions implementation report at this time is unlikely to be coincidental.

    “Equatorial Guinea announced it would end its trade links with DPRK companies,” said NK News, adding that Equatorial Guinea’s implementation report also says that the North Korean Embassy in Malabo has been told “to cease all commercial activities and urgently repatriate all citizens of that country, while the Government considers other arrangements and measures in this regard.”

    Diplomatic relations were first set up between the two countries under Dictator Francois Macias and North Korea’s Kim Il-sung. Both rulers adopted extreme cults of personality and ruled by violence, perhaps part of the reason they maintained a close relationship until Macias was tried and executed in September 1979 after he was deposed in a coup.

    The DPRK provided a home for three of Macias’ children in exile. His daughter, Monique Macias, recounted her 15 years in Pyongyang for NK News in 2014 while the Independent newspaper published some of the same photos of her time there.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and NK News]

    January 29, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee publishes its latest cummulative list of National Implementation Reports submitted by UN Member States since 2006

    The UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) [referred to within this timeline as the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee or sometimes the DPRK Sanctions Committee] was established on 14 October 2006 when UN Security Council Resolution 1718 was adopted after the DPRK carried out its first nuclear test.

    The 1718 Sanctions Committee oversees the relevant sanctions measures relating to the DPRK that have been adopted by the Security Council and is assisted by a Panel of Experts. Additional functions were entrusted to the 1718 Sanctions Committee in Security Council resolutions 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and 2397 (2017).

    It has published its latest cummulative list of National Implementation Reports submitted by UN Member States since 2006. There are links to each report as a PDF file.

    In summary the latest cumulative list reports that “[a]s of 29 January 2018, 50 Member States have submitted reports on the implementation of resolution 2375 (2017), 52 Member State have submitted report on the implementation of resolution 2371 (2017), 96 Member States have submitted reports on the implementation of resolution 2321 (2016) and 106 Member States on the implementation of resolution 2270 (2016).”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    February 7, Third countries align with EU sanctions against the DPRK

    The European Union (EU) has announced that Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia have aligned themselves with Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/89. That decision, adopted on 22 January 2018, added 17 people to the EU DPRK sanctions list for their involvement in “illegal trade activities” and activities aimed at “facilitating the evasion of [UN] sanctions”.

    [Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

    February 8, UN Permits a North Korean official subject to a travel ban and asset freeze to visit South Korea as part of DPRK delegation to the Winter Olympics

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee granted approval for a North Korean delegation, specifically UN-sanctioned senior official Choe Hwi, to travel to South Korea for the opening of the Winter Olympics.

    Choe, a senior leader of the North Korean Workers’ Party, has been on the UN sanctions blacklist since 2 June 2017, and is subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

    While South Korea asked for broad approval to host the high-level delegation from Pyongyang – including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong – Choe was the only member subjected to a targeted UN travel ban and asset freeze.

    [Sources: Reuters, NK News and VOA News]

    February 13, U.S. names ABLV Bank of Latvia an institution of primary money laundering concern, proposes Section 311 special measure

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act, seeking to prohibit the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account in the United States for, or on behalf of, ABLV Bank in Latvia.

    As described in the finding, ABLV has institutionalized money laundering as a pillar of the bank’s business practices. It went on to say that “ABLV’s business practice of banking high-risk shell companies without appropriate risk mitigation policies and procedures has also caused the bank to facilitate transactions for parties connected to U.S.- and UN-designated [DPRK] entities. These designated entities include Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), Koryo Bank, Koryo Credit Development Bank, Korea Mining and Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), and Ocean Maritime Management Company (OMM), some of which are involved in North Korea’s procurement or export of ballistic missiles. ABLV facilitated transactions related to North Korea after the bank’s summer 2017 announcement of a North Korea ‘No Tolerance’ policy.”

    [Source: FinCEN Press Notice]

    February 15, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee updates its list of designated individuals and entities

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the entry for designated individual Ri Su Yong who is “an official for Korea Ryonbong General Corporation [that] specialises in acquisition for DPRK’s defence industries and support to Pyongyang’s military related sales. Its procurements also probably support the DPRK’s chemical weapons programme.”

    The Press Release announcing this provides a reminder of useful links to the 1718 Sanctions Committee’s lists of individuals and entities designated pursuant to the measures imposed by paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) of UNSCR 1718 (2006):

    [Source: 1718 Committee Press Release]

    February 19, Canada responds to recent UN sanctions listings/changes and amends Ri Su Yong entry in the Consolidated List

    On February 15 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the entry for designated individual Ri Su Yong. Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) has now issued a Notice announcing that the tables posted on the OSFI Web site have been updated to incorporate the amendments.

    The tables are a list of names subject to sanctions under the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (RIUNRDPRK).

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    February 19, Australia responds to recent UN sanctions listings/changes and amends Ri Su Yong entry in the Consolidated List

    On February 15 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the entry for designated individual Ri Su Yong. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its Consolidated List to reflect this change.

    Australia’s Consolidated List is a regularly updated XLS spreadsheet listing all persons and entities who are subject to targeted financial sanctions or travel bans under Australian sanctions laws. It includes all persons and entities to which the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 and the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 currently applies.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    February 21, United Kingdom (UK) passes North Korea Export Controls Order

    The UK has passed the Export Control (North Korea Sanctions) Order 2018, SI 2018/200, which makes provision for the EU trade restrictions against the DPRK as contained in Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 (as amended). The Order will come into force on 14 March 2018.

    Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 was adopted August 30, 2017. It consolidated EU sanctions against the DPRK into a new Regulation in view of the large number of amendments that had been made to the old measure, Regulation (EC) No 329 of 2007, which 2017/1509 repealed.

    In the months since it was adopted, Regulation 2017/1509 has been amended, inter alia, by Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1836 (October 10, 2017) and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1858 (October 16, 2016) which were among changes amde to implement UNSCR 2371 and UNSCR 2375.

    It was further amended by EU regulations that include Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/12 (January 8, 2018) and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/285 (Februray 26, 2018) which were among changes made to align EU sanctions against the DPRK with the latest UN sanctions resolution, UNSCR 2397 (December 22, 2017).

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and European Sanctions]

    February 23, Hong Kong SAR responds to recent UN sanctions listings/changes and amends Ri Su Yong entry in its list of ‘relevant persons and entities’

    On February 15 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the entry for designated individual Ri Su Yong.

    In connection with this the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a Circular announcing that “an updated list specifying ‘relevant persons and entities’ under section 31 of the United Nations Sanctions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulation (Cap. 537AE) was published in the Gazette on 23 February 2018 (G.N. 1233 of 2018).”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    February 23, U.S. imposes largest package of sanctions against the DPRK

    President Trump told a conservative activist group in Maryland that “Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime.”

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added 1 individual, 27 entities/companies and 28 vessels to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List.

    Details of these additions to the SDN list are in a North Korea Designations – Publication of North Korea Vessel Advisory issued jointly by OFAC, the Department of State and the U.S. Coast Guard.

    The Vessel Advisory says the measures “are designed to disrupt North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels and to further isolate Pyongyang.”

    The 28 ships that were designated are located, registered or flagged in the DPRK, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros.

    The Vessel Advisory came with a warning to international businesses. Its purpose, it said, was “to alert persons globally to deceptive shipping practices used by North Korea to evade sanctions. These practices may create significant sanctions risk for parties involved in the shipping industry, including insurers, flag registries, shipping companies, and financial institutions.”

    It goes on to say that “Parties subject to U.S. and/or United Nations (UN) sanctions should be aware of these practices in order to implement appropriate controls to ensure compliance with their legal requirements.”

    Interestingly, The Guardian newspaper report on this story notes that no Russian ships or entities have been sanctioned in the new set of measures, despite reports in December 2017 that Russian ships had been involved in illegal ship-to-ship fuel transfers. It claims that Administration officials said Russian entities had been targeted on previous occasions for sanctions-busting over the DPRK, and could be again they added. However exactly the same could be said for Chinese vessels and entities but they are included in these latest measures.

    [Sources: Reuters and OFAC Resource Center]

    February 23, FATF expresses concern that DPRK’s illicit financial activities threaten integrity of the international financial system

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued its latest publications on high risk jurisdictions. It was particularly concerned by the failure of the DPRK to address the significant deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. It considers this a serious threat to the integrity of the international financial system. Furthermore, FATF expressed serious concerns with the threat posed by the DPRK’s illicit activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and its financing.

    Editor’s Note: The Financial Action Task Force is an inter-governmental body established by the G7 in 1989 and today includes as members 35 member jurisdictions and two regional organisations (the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council). It is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). In order to protect the international financial system from money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML/FT) risks and to encourage greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, the FATF identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies and works with them to address those deficiencies that pose a risk to the international financial system.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    February 26, European Union (EU) aligns sanctions with latest UN Security Council resolution

    The Council of the European Union increased the restrictive measures against the DPRK by bringing into EU law the measures imposed by the latest UN Security Council resolution 2397 (2017). The new EU measures were implemented by Council Regulation (EU) 2018/285 amending Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

    The result of the transposition of these measures include:

    • the strengthening of the export ban to the DPRK of all refined petroleum products by reducing the amount of barrels that may be exported from 2 million barrels to 500,000 barrels per year;
    • a ban on imports from the DPRK of food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, and wood;
    • a ban on exports to the DPRK of all industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and expansion to all iron, steel and other metals;
    • further maritime restrictive measures against vessels where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel has been involved in the breach of UN sanctions;
    • the requirement to repatriate all DPRK workers abroad within 24 months, subject to applicable national and international law.

    Note that to ensure the uniform application of the maritime measures contained in UNSC Resolution 2397 (2017), amending Regulation (EU) 2018/285 created a new Annex XVIII to Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 containing a list of vessels which the Council of the EU has reason to believe were involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by UNSCR 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or 2397 (2017).

    The full prohibition on the export of crude oil provided for in resolution 2397 (2017) had already been introduced in the EU on October 16, 2017 while the additional 16 individuals and 1 entity sanctioned by the resolution were implemented by the EU on January 8, 2018.

    On January 22, 2018 the EU had imposed autonomous sanctions on a further 17 individuals and added them to its sanctions list. The transposition of the UN measures by the EU also took into account that 3 persons and one entity listed by the EU autonomously were now listed by the UN. The number of persons and entities under restrictive measures against the DPRK as of this date is 79 persons and 54 entities as listed by the UN and 55 persons and 9 entities designated by the EU autonomously.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors, EU Press Release and European Sanctions]

    February 27, United Kingdom (UK) identifies DPRK as a jurisdiction with significant deficiencies in its AML/CFT regimes

    In response to the latest publication by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on high risk jurisdictions, HM Treasury has published an Advisory Notice, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing controls in higher risk jurisdictions drawing the attention of the UK’s regulated sector to FATF’s identification of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes. The notice advises firms to consider the DPRK in particular as high risk and to apply counter measures and enhanced due diligence measures in accordance with the risks.

    [Source: Financial services: Regulation tomorrow blog]

    March 1, U.S. amends and reissues DPRK sanctions regulations

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it has amended and reissued all of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 510, in order to implement Executive Order (E.O.) 13687, E.O. 13722, and E.O. 13810, and to reference the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017. OFAC is also publishing new and updated North Korea-related FAQs.

    The regulations will be published in the Federal Register, and the changes will take effect, on March 5, 2018.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and OFAC Bulletin]

    March 5, U.S. brings into force the amended and reissued DPRK sanctions regulations

    Reissued OFAC North Korea sanctions regulations come into force – see above.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 5, European Union (EU) updates its DPRK designations

    On February 15, 2018 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the listing of Ri Su Yong, a DPRK national subject to restrictive measures. To implement this change the Council of the European Union adopted Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/324 which amends Annex XIII to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 (which applies restrictive measures against the DPRK). See also Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/331.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 5, U.S. sanctions DPRK over use of chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong-nam

    On February 22, 2018, the United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong-nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport.

    In response, the U.S. Goverment has issued a notice of sanctions to be imposed as required by law. Those sanctions are as follows:

    1. Foreign Assistance: Termination of assistance to North Korea under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, except for urgent humanitarian assistance and food or other agricultural commodities or products.
    2. Arms Sales: Termination of (a) sales to North Korea under the Arms Export Control Act of any defense articles, defense services, or design and construction services, and (b) licenses for the export to North Korea of any item on the United States Munitions List.
    3. Arms Sales Financing: Termination of all foreign military financing for North Korea under the Arms Export Control Act.
    4. Denial of United States Government Credit or Other Financial Assistance: Denial to North Korea of any credit, credit guarantees, or other financial assistance by any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government, including the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
    5. Exports of National Security-Sensitive Goods and Technology: Prohibition on the export to North Korea of any goods or technology on that part of the control list established under section 2404(c)(1) of the Appendix to Title 50.

    These sanctions are in addition to existing U.S. comprehensive sanctions that target unlawful activities by the DPRK.

    [Sources: State Department Press Statement and Notice by the State Department in the Federal Register]

    March 8, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issues FATF counter-proliferation guidance

    The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) wrote to all authorised institutions drawing attention to a guidance paper issued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) entitled Guidance on Counter Proliferation Financing – The Implementation of Financial Provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions to Counter the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    See also above for the UK’s HMT guidance on the same FATF paper.

    [Source: Mr. Watchlist]

    March 9, Australian firm Brigt Australia probed for alleged breach of UN sanctions on DPRK coal exports

    The Sydney-based property company Brigt Australia is reportedly being investigated by Australian Federal Police for brokering an illicit sale of North Korean coal in breach of UN sanctions.

    The UN Panel of Experts monitoring the implementation of sanctions accused Brigt Australia and its director, Livia Wang, of falsely stating that the shipment of coal had come from Russia when it had originated in the DPRK. The UN Security Council imposed a total ban on the importation of coal from the DPRK when it adopted UNSC 2371 (2017) on 5 August 2017.

    [Source: Reuters]

    March 14, United Kingdom (UK) brings into force the North Korea Export Controls Order

    The Export Control (North Korea Sanctions) Order 2018, SI 2018/200, was adopted February 21, 2018 (see that link for details).

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 14, The General Court of the European Union upholds the EU’s DPRK sanctions regime

    The EU General Court has given judgment in the first case about the EU’s DPRK sanctions regime. Two joined cases before the court involved as claimants the Korea National Insurance Company (KNIC) (this timeline passim) and a number of North Korean individuals who had held positions in KNIC.

    The claimants were represented by a legal team that included Maya Lester QC who summarised the case and judgement on her European Sanctions blog as follows:

    The Korea National Insurance Company was subject to an EU asset freeze for (in summary) “generating substantial foreign exchange revenue which could be used to contribute” to the DPRK’s nuclear/ballistic programme. The Court found, in essence, that as a state-owned insurance company that generated a profit (even if it did not generate substantial foreign exchange revenue) the listing criterion was fulfilled. The Court also rejected claims brought by individuals who had held positions in the company, on the basis that their witness evidence explaining (inter alia) their retirement/absence of ongoing links with the company had no probative value because it was prepared for the purposes of the EU case.

    Editor’s Note #1: The General Court (EGC) is a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It hears actions taken against the institutions of the European Union by individuals and member states.

    Editor’s Note #2: The judgment also clarified whether the incorrect transliteration of a Korean name into English affected the legal standing of a regulation or legal notice in which that incorrect transliteration was used.

    In one of the contested sanctioning measures before the court it was submitted on behalf of a claimant, Kang Song-Sam, that “by designating a person who does not exist, namely Kang Song-Nam”, the grounds for the measure in his case were, in essence, invalid.

    However the court in its judgment (paragraph 199) said that “it is sufficient to note that transliteration from Korean to English often gives rise to a number of possible and acceptable translations. Consequently, that error does not in any way preclude Mr Kang Song-Sam’s understanding of the first set of contested [sanctioning] measures by which the Council [of the European Union] targeted him because of the position he held [in KNIC].

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and European Sanctions]

    March 21, UN Security Council (UNSC) adopts resolution 2407 extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts created under paragraph 26 of resolution 1874 (2009)

    The UN Security Council in considering previous relevant resolutions (see list in resolution 2407 itself) and deciding that proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security, adopted UNSCR 2407 (2018).

    The main provisions of this resolution were to:

    1. Extend until April 24, 2019 the mandate of the Panel of Experts that were created by paragraph 26 of UNSCR 1874 (2009) to support the work of the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee, and
    2. Request the Panel of Experts to provide to the 1718 Sanctions Committee no later than August 3, 2018 a midterm report on its work, as requested in paragraph 43 of UNSCR 2321 (2016), and that this interim report then be submitted to the Security Council by September 7, 2018. It further requested that a final report be submitted to the 1718 Sanctions Committee no later than February 1, 2019 with its findings and recommendations. This final report of the Panel of Experts was also to be submitted to the Security Council no later than March 14, 2019 – see March 5, 2019 entry below for final report.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 23, Singapore repeals work permits of all North Koreans in the country

    On March 19, 2018, the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the UN submitted to the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee the report of the Government of Singapore on the measures taken to implement the provisions of UNSCR 2397 (December 2017). The report was published by the UN on March 23, 2018.

    Paragraph 13 of the Annex to the report said that Singapore has revoked the work passes of all nationals of the DPRK earning income in Singapore and will not grant new work passes to nationals of the DPRK. “There are therefore no nationals of the DPRK with work passes in Singapore” it adds.

    Editor’s Note: The latest list (dated March 23, 2018) of UN Sanctions Implementation Reports submitted to the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee can be found here.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 27, United Kingdom (UK) Parliamentary Defence Committee recommends better enforcement of DPRK sanctions

    The House of Commons Defence Committee has published a report: Rash or Rational? North Korea and the threat it poses which analyses sanctions adopted in response to the DPRK’s nuclear programme.

    The report concludes that the “inadequate enforcement of sanctions” and “lax enforcement on the part of certain countries” [China? Russia?], has “significantly limited their impact on North Korea’s economy”. It recommends that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) should “set out what steps it has taken to encourage other countries to enforce – in full – the agreed sanctions against North Korea”.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and European Sanctions]

    March 30, UN Security Council adds 1 individual, 21 entities to DPRK sanctions list and designates 27 vessels

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee approved the addition of 1 individual, Tsang Yung Yuan, and 21 entities who are ship owners/managers/brokers to its 1718 Sanctions List of individuals and entities subject to the measures imposed by paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) of UNSCR 1718 (2006).

    The 1718 Sanctions Committee also designated 27 vessels, variously subjecting them to the following measures:

    1. 13 subject to assets freeze pursuant to paragraph 12 of UNSCR 2321 (2016) and prohibited from port entry pursuant to paragraph 6 of UNSCR 2371 (2017);
    2. 2 subject to assets freeze pursuant to paragraph 8(d) of UNSCR 1718 (2006);
    3. 12 subject to de-flagging pursuant to paragraph 12 of UNSCR 2321 (2016) and prohibited from port entry pursuant to paragraph 6 of UNSCR 2371 (2017).

    Full details, including ship names, their “illegal” activities and IMO numbers of the designated vessels, along with the identities and addresses of the sanctioned individual and entities are in the UN notice here.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and UN Press Release]

    April 3, Australia responds to the recent UN sanctions listings by updating the Consolidated List

    In response to the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee approving the addition of 1 individual and 21 entities to its 1718 DPRK Sanctions List (see March 30 timeline entry), the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its Condolidated List of all persons and entities who are subject to targeted financial sanctions or travel bans under Australian sanctions laws.

    Editor’s Note: Australia did not add the 27 vessels designated by the 1718 Sanctions Committee to its Consolidated List and instead dealt with them separately by other legislative and administrative measures. Those are described by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in the following link [Courtesy of Mr Watchlist].

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    April 3, Switzerland responds to the recent UN Security Council sanctions listings by updating its DPRK Sanctions List

    The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), part of the Federal Department of Economic Affair (FDEA) and responsible for bilateral economic relations and sanctions, updated the annexes of the country’s May 18, 2016, DPRK Sanctions Ordinance (version in French). The modifications were due to come into force on March 30, 2018.

    These updates apply most of the March 30 listings and designations of the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee. That is, the Swiss updates included the 1 individual and all the 21 entities (mainly shipping companies and agents) added to the UNSC sanctions list, but only included the 15 of the 27 vessels that were subject to an asset freeze. The other 12 vessels in the UN list were only subject to de-flagging and prohibited from port entry so were not included.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    April 4, Canada responds to the recent UN Security Council sanctions listings by updating its Consolidated List

    Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) announced that it had approved the addition of 1 individual and 21 entities to its list of individuals and entities designated by the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee. The Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (RIUNRDPRK) made changes to its Consolidated List (of sanctions) in response to the UN Security Council announcement of March 30.

    The OFSI list includes the 1 individual and 21 entities designated by the UN, as well as the 15 of the 27 vessles that were subject to an asset freeze. The other 12 vessels in the UN list were only subject to de-flagging and prohibited from port entry so were not included.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and OFSI Notice]

    April 5, United Kingdom (UK) responds to the recent UN Security Council sanctions listings

    On March 30 the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee added 37 entries to the UN North Korea (The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) list.

    The UK, in accordance with the United Nations and European Union Financial Sanctions (Linking) Regulations 2017 made under the Policing and Crime Act 2017, enacted this UNSC decision on April 5, 2018, and issued North Korea (DPRK) Financial Sanctions Notice 5/04/2018. This was superseded on April 10 by an EU Amending Notice.</p
    NB Financial Sanctions Notices are issued in the UK by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    April 6, European Union (EU) updates its DPRK sanctions regulations in response to the recent UN Security Council sanctions listings

    The Council of the European Union approved Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/548 on April 6, 2018, which amended Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 which imposed financial sanctions in relation to the DPRK.

    The amendments (which came into effect on April 9) made changes to Annexes XIII and XIV of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 and were the EU’s response to the March 30 listings by the UN Security Council 1718 Committee which added 1 person and 21 entities to the UN Security Council list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures and designated 15 vessels for an asset freeze, 25 vessels for a port entry ban and 12 vessels for de-flagging.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors and Council of the EU Press Release]

    April 10, United Kingdom (UK) reissues its response to the recent UN Security Council sanctions listings

    Following the publication in the Official Journal of the EU on April 9 of Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/548, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued Financial Sanctions Notice 10/04/2018, superseding the Notice it issued on April 5.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    April 19, European Union (EU) adds 4 people to its autonomous sanctions against the DPRK

    The Council of the European Union has added four persons (Kim Yong-Nam, Djang Tcheul Hy, Kim Su Gwang and Kim Kyong Hui) to the list of those subject to the restrictive measures against the DPRK. These restrictive measures are autonomous sanctions and consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze.

    The four individuals have been involved in deceptive financial practices which are suspected of contributing to the DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes; see Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/611 amending Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 [May 2016] concerning restrictive measures against the DPRK and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/602 amending Annex XV of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

    At the same time, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy made a formal declaration on behalf of the EU that a number of third countries had aligned themselves with these latest autonomous EU sanctions. Those countries are the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania; the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina; the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (who are also members of the European Economic Area); and the Republic of Moldova and Armenia.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors, Council of the EU Press Release and European Sanctions]

    April 20, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice applying EU autonomous sanction to 4 people

    On April 19 Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/602 was adopted by the Council of the European Union. It amended Annex XV of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 with effect from 20 April 2018 to add the names of 4 designated individuals.

    The UK Government has implemented these EU designations via the Financial Sanctions Notice 20/04/2018 issued by the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury. The Annex of this Notice adds the 4 individuals to the UK’s consolidated list and makes them subject to an asset freeze.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    April 25, Switzerland implements UN Security Council Resolution 2397 (December, 2017)

    The Swiss Federal Council announced that it has tightened sanctions against the DPRK by implementing the latest UN Security Council Resolution, 2397 adopted on December 22, 2017. That resolution introduced additional measures on trade in goods, further maritime measures and bans on providing work authorisation for North Koreans.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    May 14, European Union (EU) amends financial sanctions against 6 North Koreans associated with KNIC

    The Council of the European Union adopted Decision (CFSP) 2018/715 which amended financial and travel restrictions against six North Koreans associated with the Korean National Insurance Company (KNIC) by moving them to Annex III from Annex II of Decision (CFSP) 2016/849. See also Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/714 amending Regulation (EU) 2017/1509.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    May 22, United Kingdom (UK) implements UN Security Council Resolution 2397 (December, 2017)

    On December 22, 2017, the UN Security Council imposed its latest round of sanctions against the DPRK by adopting Resolution 2397. The UK has provided for the new measures adopted in that Resolution by passing two Statutory Instruments/Orders that came into effect on May 22, 2018.The first Order is the North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/523 [made April 24, 2018]. This Order extends the offences related to carriage of goods to the DPRK to include: industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and iron, steel and others metals. It also extends the offences related to carriage of goods from the DPRK to include: earth and stone, including magnesite and magnesia; food and agricultural products; machinery and electrical equipment; ships, boats and floating structures; and wood.

    It adds offences of providing classification services to, or knowingly registering or maintaining on the register, a ship that the person committing the offence has reasonable grounds to believe was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

    Finally, it also adds an offence of knowingly obtaining or transferring, directly or indirectly, fishing rights from the DPRK.

    The second Order is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/524 [made April 24, 2018] which gives effect in specified Overseas Territories to sanctions imposed on the DPRK by the UN Security Council by resolution 2397. They are essentially the same sanctions that apply in the UK (see above) and include restrictions on: the export of industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, and iron, steel and others metals to the DPRK; the import of earth and stone, including magnesite and magnesia; food and agricultural products; machinery and electrical equipment; ships, boats and floating structures; wood; and fishing rights, from the DPRK. These sanctions also include restrictions on the registration, insurance or reinsurance of, or providing classification services for, vessels.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    May 23, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amends entry for WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT on its sanctions list

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended the entry for WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT on its list of individuals and entities (the 1718 Sanctions List) subject to the restrictive measures imposed by paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

    Weihai is the ship and commercial manager of the XIN GUANG HAI, a vessel that loaded coal at Taean, DPRK, on October 2, 2017 and had an ETA of November 14, 2017 to Cam Pha, Viet Nam, but it did not arrive.

    [Source: UN Security Council Press Release]

    June 1, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice aligning UK’s DPRK sanctions with most recent changes to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509

    The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued Financial Sanctions Notice 01/06/2018 the Annex of which lists 5 people whose details on the UK’s consolidated list have been amended and are still subject to an asset freeze and 1 entry that has been added to the consolidated list after previously being delisted by the EU. All 6 are North Koreans associated with the UN-sanctioned Korean National Insurance Company (KNIC) – see May 14 entry.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 4, European Union (EU) amends WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT sanctions listing

    Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/814 was adopted June 1 by the Council of the European Union and published on June 4 in the Official Journal of the European Union (O.J. L 137, 4.6.2018, p.1). It amended Annex XIII of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 with effect from that date. The amendment reflects the decisions made on May 23, 2018, by the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee [UN Reference SCA/4/18 (07)] to amend the identifying information of 1 existing 1718 Sanctions List entry, WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT, subject to restrictive measures.

    A copy of SCA/4/18 (07) is available here, last referenced June 6, 2018.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 4, United Kingdom (UK) amends WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT sanctions listing

    The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued Financial Sanctions Notice 04/06/2018 which brought into effect Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 2018/814 – see EU entry above.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 4, Australia amends WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT sanctions listing

    Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated the Consolidated List to amend the entry for WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT. This reflects the decisions made on May 23, 2018, by the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee [UN Reference SCA/4/18 (07)] to amend the identifying information of 1 existing 1718 Sanctions List entry, WEIHAI WORLD-SHIPPING FREIGHT, which is subject to restrictive measures.

    A copy of SCA/4/18 (07) is available here, last referenced June 6, 2018.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 7, New Zealand aircraft manufacturer fined for breaching UN Security Council DPRK sanctions

    New Zealand aircraft manufacturer, Pacific Aerospace, has been fined nearly NZ $75,000 after indirectly, but knowingly, exporting plane parts to the DPRK in breach of UN sanctions and New Zealand Customs regulations – see October 2017 report on timeline.

    Newly released court documents reveal that Pacific Aerospace had installed “spy in the cockpit” tracking technology, which was turned on at all times, enabling the company to locate the whereabouts of the P-750 aircraft.

    [Source: New Zeland Herald]

    June 12, Summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un takes place at the Capella Hotel in Singapore

    The two leaders met in Singapore with only their respective interpreters present. They signed a brief declaration on denuclearisation and reducing tensions.

    The joint declaration broadly agreed that the U.S. would make security guarantees to the DPRK, which in turn would work towards the denuclearisation of the Peninsula.

    While vague, it did contain four key points within it, none of which referenced sanctions. Subsequently both China and South Korea have said sanctions could be eased when North Korea shows some progress, but, crucially, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said North Korea will need to completely denuclearise before sanctions can be relaxed.

    According to BBC News, the DPRK has celebrated the Trump-Kim summit as a great win for the country, with state media reporting that the U.S. intends to lift sanctions. However President Donald Trump said afterwards that sanctions would remain in place for now, but would be lifted once “nukes are no longer a factor”. Trump also announced an unexpected end to U.S.-South Korea military drills.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 22, Japanese-North Korean joint venture companies suspected of illicitly diverting funds to the DPRK

    Ten joint venture companies formed by Japanese and North Korean firms and organisations may be involved in illicit diversion of funds to the DPRK, a UN Security Council investigation has found.

    Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has ordered regular banks, Shinkin banks and credit unions to provide details of all accounts used by the ten companies, and submit a record of all transactions since March 2016.

    The FSA judged that the DPRK could be using the ten companies to violate sanctions and to repeatedly launder money. The National Police Agency also appears to have embarked on an investigation of related firms.

    [Source: The Mainichi]

    June 22, President Trump extends North Korea state of emergency

    President Trump has declared that the DPRK still poses an “extraordinary threat” to the United States, just days after saying that the country’s nuclear program no longer constituted a danger.

    Renewing Executive Order (E.O.) 13466, first signed on June 26, 2008 by George W. Bush, the president extended for one year the so-called “national emergency” (‘proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula’) with respect to the country, re-authorising economic restrictions against it.

    While expected, the declaration comes just nine days after President Trump tweeted: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

    In a letter to Congress, the president outlined the dangerous actions of the North Korean government, including its missiles and nuclear program, saying “The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula; the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea that destabilize the Korean Peninsula and imperil United States Armed Forces, allies, and trading partners in the region, including its pursuit of nuclear and missile programs; and other provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13466 with respect to North Korea.”

    Editor’s Note: Subsequent Executive Orders issued by President Obama, and most recently by President Trump, have amended E.O. 13466 – see E.O. 13551, E.O. 13570, E.O. 13687, E.O. 13722 and E.O. 13810 on this timeline. These amending Executive Orders expanded the 2008 national emergency and took additional steps with respect to that emergency, including blocking the property of certain persons (individuals and entities) and prohibiting certain types of transactions. For an official commentary on those amendments, except E.O. 13810 (which was signed by Donald Trump), see President Obama’s Notice – Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to North Korea.

    [Sources: The Guardian and The Washington Times]

    June 22, Hong Kong implements UN sanctions against the DPRK

    The Trade and Industry Department of the Hong Kong Government announced that it had gazetted the United Nations Sanctions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) (Amendment) Regulation 2018 which implemented sanctions against the DPRK as imposed or expanded by UN Security Council Resolutions 2270, 2321, 2371, 2375 and 2397.

    The announcement warns that contravention of the prohibitions imposed by the Amendment Regulation attracts substantial penalties which may amount in some cases to imprisonment for 7 years and/or a fine.

    Editor’s Note: This announcement is interesting because it is the first time that China has published a list, albeit a short one, of embargoed luxury goods. The new Hong Kong regulation places a “prohibition against the supply, sale, transfer and carriage of additional luxury goods, including aquatic recreational vehicles, snowmobiles, luxury watches, lead crystal items, luxury rugs or tapestries, and porcelain or bone china tableware to the DPRK without [a] licence”.

    While the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union, for example, have all published detailed lists (see below) of embargoed luxury goods, China had not done so until now. It has also refused to honour the luxury goods lists of other countries when it exports to the DPRK. It is not clear yet whether this action of the Hong Kong SAR indicates a softening of policy in this regard by Beijing.

    The fact that each UN Member State is permitted to interpret the same UN luxury goods category to include different things undermines luxury goods sanctions because it “creates a situation of uneven practice” the 2015 report of the UN Panel of Experts concludes. This is a serious loophole in the UN’s luxury goods sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts report describes how it has been exploited in particular by Chinese businesses, apparently with the support of Beijing.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    June 29, FATF remains concerned about deficiencies in DPRK’s anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime

    The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global standard-setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). At its Paris meeting on June 29, 2018, FATF said in a statement that it “remains concerned by the DPRK’s failure to address the significant deficiencies in its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime and the serious threats they pose to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF urges the DPRK to immediately and meaningfully address its AML/CFT deficiencies. Further, the FATF has serious concerns with the threat posed by the DPRK’s illicit activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and its financing.”

    More details in FATF’s public statement below.

    [Source: FATF Public Statement]

    July 9, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amends entry of 1 person and 1 entity on its sanctions list

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended two entries on its list of individuals and entities (the 1718 Sanctions List) subject to the restrictive measures imposed by paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

    It updated the entry of Ri Hong-Sop, former Director of Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center and Head of the Nuclear Weapons Institute. He was first listed on July 16, 2009. It also amended the entry for the Military Supplies Industry Department (MID) which is involved in key aspects of the DPRK’s ballistic missile systems. It also oversees the DPRK’s nuclear program. For example, the Nuclear Weapons Institute is subordinate to the MID. The MID was first listed March 2, 2016.

    [Source: UN Security Council Press Release]

    July 9, Australia amends its Consolidated List for 1 individual and 1 entity

    Australia’s Consolidated List is a list of all persons and entities who are subject to targeted financial sanctions or travel bans under Australian sanctions laws. The Consolidated List is maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

    On July 9, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. As Australia’s Consolidated List includes all persons and entities to which the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 and the Autonomous Sanctions Act 2011 currently applies, it has been updated to amend the entry for one individual, Ri Hong-Sop, and one entity, Military Supplies Industry Department (MID).

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    July 10, Switzerland amends entry of 1 person and 1 entity on its sanctions list

    On July 9, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. The changes were directly applicable in Switzerland so the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), part of the Federal Department of Economic Affair (FDEA) and responsible for bilateral economic relations and sanctions, updated its SESAM (SECO Sanctions Management) database to amend the entry for one individual, Ri Hong-Sop, and one entity, Military Supplies Industry Department (MID).

    [Source: FINMA Notice]

    July 17, European Union (EU) amends listing of 1 person and 1 entity subject to restrictive measures

    On July 9, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. In response the Council of the European Union adopted Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1009 that amended Annex XIII of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 which imposes financial sanctions against the DPRK. The amendments update the entry of one individual, Ri Hong-Sop, and one entity, Military Supplies Industry Department (MID), both of which were already subject to restrictive measures.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    July 18, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice amending listing of 1 person and 1 entity subject to restrictive measures

    On July 9, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. The EU followed suit on July 17. That change in EU regulations was applicable to the UK as a Member State so the latter’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued a Financial Sanctions Notice that amended the entry of one individual, Ri Hong-Sop, and one entity, Military Supplies Industry Department (MID), who remain subject to an asset freeze – see Annex of the Notice for full details.

    The changes align the UK’s DPRK sanctions with the most recent changes to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 – see EU entry above.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    July 18, Canada issues Notice amending listing of 1 person and 1 entity subject to restrictive measures

    On July 9, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. In response Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a Notice announcing that it had updated the Consolidated List of Names subject to sanctions under the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (RIUNRDPRK) in respect of one individual, Ri Hong-Sop, and one entity, Military Supplies Industry Department (MID), who are subject to UN sanctions.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    July 20, Canada’s FINTRAC issues an advisory on financial transactions with certain countries, including the DPRK

    Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) issued an advisory notice regarding financial transactions related to countries identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its June 2018 public statement.

    The FINTRAC advisory notes that “in order to safeguard the integrity of Canada’s financial system, and in accordance with section 11.42 of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), the Minister of Finance has issued the following directive as published in the Canada Gazette on December 9, 2017: Every person or entity referred to in section 5 of the PCMLTFA shall treat all transactions originating from, or destined to, North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) as high risk for the purposes of subsection 9.6(3) of the Act.”

    [Source: FINTRAC Advisory]

    July 23, U.S. issues advisory on DPRK “sanctions evasion tactics”

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), together with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has isued a North Korea Sanctions & Enforcement Actions Advisory titled “Risks for Businesses with Supply Chain Links to North Korea” to highlight the sanctions evasion tactics used by the DPRK that could expose businesses – including manufacturers, buyers, and service providers – to sanctions compliance risks under U.S. or United Nations sanctions authorities.

    This advisory also assists businesses in complying with the requirements under Title III, the Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

    [Source: OFAC Notice]

    July 24, Taiwan to stop employment of workers from the DPRK

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei said the employment of all North Korean workers in the country would cease by the end of July. The announcement followed the publication the previous day of a U.S. advisory that warned U.S. businesses against contracting overseas companies that employ North Korean workers in potential contravention of U.S. sanctions.

    The U.S. advisory included a sectoral breakdown in various countries of the employment of workers from the DPRK and listed Taiwan’s seafood industry as an employer of such workers, a fact acknowledged by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the Taipei Times, a news release from the Ministry on July 24 said that Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency “has for years been cooperating with UN Security Council resolutions concerning North Korea” and that “[on August 12, 2016] the agency issued a notice to concerned firms asking them to stop hiring or renewing existing employment contracts with North Korean crew members” and that “[it] also encouraged them to terminate the contracts in advance.” The Ministry went on to say that the number of North Koreans working on Taiwanese fishing boats had decreased from 278 to only three and these are due to be released when their ship reaches port at the end of July.

    UN resolution 2375 (September 2017) prohibits member states from issuing new work visas to DPRK nationals and requires the repatriation of all such workers on the expiration of their current contracts and no later than December 2019. However Taiwan, as a self-proclaimed republic separate from the PRC, is not a UN member state so is not obliged to file sanctions implementation reports with the UN Security Council setting out its sanctions enforcement efforts.

    [Sources: NKhumanitarian Editors, Taipei Times and NK News]

    July 30, European Union (EU) amends listings of 8 persons subject to restrictive measures

    The Council of the European Union adopted Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1074 that amended Annex XV and Annex XVI of Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 which imposes financial sanctions against the DPRK. The amendments update the entries of eight individuals who were already subject to restrictive measures.

    At the same time the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2018/1087 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 [adopted by the EU in May 2016 and which expanded DPRK sanctions]. The Council concluded that Annexes II and III of Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 should also be updated in respect of these eight persons.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    July 31, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice amending listing of 8 persons subject to restrictive measures

    On July 30, 2018 (see above) the EU updated the entries of 8 individuals subject to restrictive measures. That change in EU regulations was applicable to the UK as a Member State so the latter’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued a Financial Sanctions Notice that correspondingly amended the entries of eight individuals who remain subject to an asset freeze – see Annex of the Notice for full details.

    The changes align the UK’s DPRK sanctions with the most recent changes to Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 which imposes financial sanctions against the DPRK.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 3, U.S. Treasury targets Russian bank and other facilitators of UN Security Council violations by DPRK

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced additional sanctions targeted at a Russian bank [Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank (Agrosoyuz)] for knowingly facilitating a significant transaction on behalf of an individual designated for weapons of mass destruction-related activities in connection with the DPRK. OFAC also targeted one individual [Ri Jong Won, the Moscow-based chief representative of Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank] and two entities [both are associated FTB front companies – Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. (Zhongsheng) and Korea Ungum Corporation (Ungum)] for facilitating North Korean illicit financial activity.

    Full details in the OFAC press release here

    The sanctions were invoked pursuant to four current Executive Orders (EO). These are: EO 13810 and EO 13687 [“Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to North Korea”], EO 13382 [“Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters”] and EO 13722 [“Blocking Property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to North Korea”].

    A list of all current Executive Orders and their texts can be found on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Resource Center site here.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 6, UN approves plan to streamline aid delivery to the DPRK

    The UN Security Council approved U.S.-drafted measures aimed at ensuring that tough sanctions on the DPRK do not impede deliveries of humanitarian aid to the country.

    The measures were adopted by the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee and published in its seventh implementation assistance notice, “Guidelines for Obtaining Exemptions to Deliver Humanitarian Assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea“.

    UN resolutions applying sanctions against the DPRK specify that the sanctions should not affect humanitarian aid, but relief organisations argue that strict trade and banking measures are creating bureaucratic obstacles and slowing down the flow of vital supplies.

    The UN estimates that 10.3 million people in the DPRK – nearly half of its population – are undernourished and need food aid. Furthermore, there is a serious lack of medical supplies in the country and UN officials have reported a drop in food production during the 2017 growing season.

    [Sources: UN Security Council Press Release, The Mainichi, NK News and South China Morning Post]

    August 8, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amends entry of 1 entity on its sanctions list

    The UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee amended one entry on its list of individuals and entities (the 1718 Sanctions List) subject to the restrictive measures imposed by paragraphs 8(d) and 8(e) of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

    It updated the entry of Pro-Gain Group Corporation, a company owned or controlled by Tsang Yung Yuan (listed on March 30, 2018) “who has coordinated DPRK coal exports with a DPRK broker operating in a third country, and [who also] has a history of other sanctions evasion activities.”

    [Sources: UN Security Council Press Release and 1718 Sanctions List]

    August 9, Hong Kong notifies financial bodies of latest changes to individuals and entities sanctioned by the UN Security Council

    On August 8, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. In response the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) sent out a circular to licensed corporations and associated entities subject to HK’s Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing United Nations Sanctions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulation notifying them of this change.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 14, Sudan claims it has cancelled DPRK military contracts, expelled related personnel and taken other actions to implement UN sanctions resolutions

    Sudan has submitted its National Implementation Report pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and 2397 (2017) [it omits 2356 (2016) from this list].

    The letter, dated 14 August 2018 from the Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the United Nations, addressed to the Chair of the [1718 Sanctions] Committee, confirmed that the country has cancelled the contract between the Future Electronic Company and Sudan Master Technology [as of July 15, 2017] and “expelled the staff of the aforementioned company” the last of whom left Sudan on August 12, 2017, according to the letter.

    The letter set out other actions that the Government of Sudan was taking to implement DPRK sanctions resolutions, “placing particular emphasis on paragraph 40 of Security Council resolution 2270 (2016) and subsequent resolutions prohibiting commercial or military interaction with any entities or bodies affiliated with the [DPRK].” The actions listed in the letter included:

    • Establishing “a national team comprising all relevant agencies to follow up on implementation of the Security Council resolutions concerning the [DPRK]” and preparing “national implementation reports for submission to the [1718 Sanctions] Committee;”
    • Adding “the list of banned individuals compiled by the [1718 Sanctions] Committee to [Sudan’s] no-entry lists.” The letter goes on to say that “no citizen of the [DPRK] has been working in Sudanese territory [since July 2017]. There is no scientific or technical cooperation that would require the presence of citizens of that country in the Sudan;”
    • Confirming that there “are no financial interactions with the [DPRK].” The letter pointedly notes in this regard that “[m]oreover, the Sudan has no financial transactions and cannot carry out international bank transfers with numerous States owing to the unilateral sanctions that the United States of America has imposed on the Sudan for the last 20 years;”
    • Confirming that the “two countries have no interactions involving the import or export of minerals of any sort, or petroleum products, compressed gas, agricultural machinery, electronic components or any of the items listed in the resolutions of the Security Council.”

    The penultimate paragraph of the letter claims that “[in] recent times, no Korean aircraft and no aircraft suspected to be connected with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has entered Sudanese airspace. No vessel originating in North Korea has transited through territorial waters.”

    However Hamish Macdonald writing in NK News on August 28 is skeptical of the assertions made in Sudan’s National Implementation Report (NIR) noting that “Sudan has already claimed, on several occasions in 2016 and 2017, that it had cut military ties with North Korea. In November 2016, the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour told South Korea officials the country had ‘completely cut off its military cooperation’ with the DPRK.”

    Macdonald’s NK News article also casts doubts on other claims made in Sudan’s latest NIR, citing evidence from the UN itself, as well as elsewhere, that appears to contradict those claims.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 15, U.S. Treasury sanctions 4 facilitators of illicit shipments on behalf of the DPRK

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Russian national Vasili Aleksandrovich Kolchanov and three entities pursuant to Executive Order 13810 (as a PDF file) for “facilitating illicit shipments on behalf of North Korea”.

    The three entities are: China-based Dalian Sun Moon Star International Logistics Trading Co Ltd; its Singapore-based affiliate, SINSMS Pte Ltd; and Russia-based Profinet Pte Ltd (Mr Kolchanov is the Director General of Profinet). As a result, all the listed persons are now subject to a U.S. asset freeze, as well as a U.S. travel ban in the case of Mr Kolchanov. See OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

    [Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

    August 16, Why these latest U.S. Treasury sanctions matter

    Editor’s Note: Andrea Berger (@AndreaRBerger), Senior Research Associate based in London at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), explained in a tweet thread on August 16 why these latest OFAC sanctions measures matter:

    “In explaining the decision, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin outlined the U.S. policy objective as ‘the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea’, borrowing Pompeo’s language from last month….

    “From my perspective, the most interesting designations are those on Profinet and its Director in Russia. You don’t often see port services agencies sanctioned, but here Treasury clearly states that Profinet staff knew what DPRK ships were up to, and helped anyway.

    “But the bigger point is that Treasury is back to sanctioning. That’s news in itself. In 2017, Treasury was announcing new designations at the end of nearly every month. That stopped after March 2018, and there was a noticeable silence while high-level engagement was ramping up.

    “Now we have the second set of North Korea designations in two weeks. Is this a product of fear in Washington that sanctions are being gutted from the inside? That the momentum behind U.S.-DPRK engagement is dwindling? Will the U.S. try to proclaim “maximum pressure V2″ at some point?”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 20, Canada issues Notice amending listing of 1 entity subject to restrictive measures

    On August 8, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee decided to amend its 1718 Sanctions List. In response Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a Notice announcing that it had updated the Consolidated List of Names subject to sanctions under the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (RIUNRDPRK) in respect of one entity, Pro-Gain Group Corporation, which is subject to UN sanctions.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    August 21, U.S. Treasury sanctions 2 Russian entities and 6 vessels facilitating illicit shipments of refined petroleum products to the DPRK

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a Notice in which the DPRK4 entries designate two Russian entities and six Russian vessels pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13810 of September 20, 2017. The purpose of the designations were to target persons involved in the ship-to-ship transfer of refined petroleum products with North Korea-flagged vessels, an activity expressly prohibited by the UN Security Council – see UNSCR 2397 (December 2017).

    The two Russian entities that were designated are Vladivostok-based shipping companies Primorye Maritime Logistics Co Ltd (Primorye) and Gudzon Shipping Co LLC (Gudzon), the registered ship owners and managers of Russia-flagged merchant vessel (M/V) PATRIOT (IMO 9003550). OFAC alleges that in early 2018, the PATRIOT conducted two ship-to-ship transfers of oil for the benefit of North Korea, including 1,500 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged M/V CHONG RIM 2 (IMO 8916293) and 2,000 tons of oil to the North Korea-flagged M/V CHON MA SAN (IMO 8660313).

    The ultimate buyer was UN- and U.S.-designated Taesong Bank, a North Korean entity subordinate to the UN- and U.S.-designated Workers’ Party of Korea Office 39, which engages in illicit economic activities for the leadership of the DPRK. The CHONG RIM 2 was listed by the UN and the United States in March 2016. The CHON MA SAN was blocked by the United States in February 2018, and subsequently it was listed by the UN in March 2018 for its involvement in a UN-prohibited ship-to-ship transfer in mid-November 2017.

    In addition to M/V PATRIOT (IMO 9003550), five other Russia-flagged vessels were also designated having been identified by OFAC as property in which Gudzon has an interest:

    1. NEPTUN (IMO 8404991)
    2. BELLA (IMO 8808264)
    3. BOGATYR (IMO 9085730)
    4. PARTIZAN (IMO 9113020)
    5. SEVASTOPOL (IMO 9235127)

    [Source: OFAC Press Release]

    August 31, Third countries align with updated EU sanctions against the DPRK

    On July 30, 2018 the Council of the European Union concluded that Decision (CFSP) 2016/849, including certain entries concerning persons and entities set out in Annexes II and III thereto, should be updated.

    The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, have aligned themselves with the above Council decisions thus ensuring that their national sanctions policies conform.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Council of the EU Press Release]

    September 6, U.S. brings criminal charges and imposes sanctions for cyber attacks by the DPRK

    A North Korean programmer who is backed by the authorities in the DPRK has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with conspiracy to conduct multiple cyber attacks and intrusions (see DoJ Press Release). Park Jin Hyok, AKA Jin Hyok Park and Pak Jin Hek, is alleged to be a member of a government-sponsored hacking team known to the private sector in the West as the “Lazarus Group,” and worked for a DPRK government front company, Chosun Expo Joint Venture (AKA Korea Expo Joint Venture or “KEJV”), to support the DPRK government’s malicious cyber actions. Personal details about Park and KEJV are given in the OFAC Notice.

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13722, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has also sanctioned Park and the Korea Expo Joint Venture, for being “tied to the Government of North Korea’s malign cyber activities” – see OFAC Press Release for more details. An assets freeze and travel ban have been imposed.

    Park Jin Hyok and associates are alleged to be part of the conspiracy responsible for conducting, among others, the February 2016 cyber-enabled fraudulent transfer of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank, the ransomware used in the May 2017 “WannaCry 2.0” cyber-attack, and the November 2014 cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    Editor’s Note: The WannaCry computer virus encrypts data on infected computers and demands a ransom payment to allow users to access it. It was released worldwide on Friday 12 May 2017 and almost immediately spread through computers used by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). It caused very serious disruption to the NHS in England. A significant number of NHS organisation were affected resulting in thousands of appointments and operations being cancelled and in five areas of England patients had to travel further to accident and emergency departments.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and European Sanctions]

    September 13, U.S. Treasury sanctions 2 entities and 1 individual targeting revenue earned from overseas IT workers

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it was imposing sanctions under its North Korea-related designations against two entities and one individual. In doing so it was targeting the revenue the DPRK earns from overseas information technology (IT) workers.

    The two entities and the one individual sanctioned this time around by OFAC were China-based Yanbian Silverstar Network Technology Co. Ltd, its North Korean CEO, Jong Song Hwa, and its Russia-based sister company, Volasys Silver Star – see OFAC Notice and the OFAC Press Release for more details. An asset freeze has been imposed and U.S. citizens are prohibited from dealing with any of the designated persons and entiries.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and OFAC Press Release]

    October 4, U.S. Treasury sanctions Turkish company and 2 Turkish men over illicit trade in arms and luxury goods with the DPRK

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned a Turkey-based company, SIA Falcon International Group, pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13551 (asset freeze), for importing, exporting, or re-exporting arms or related material and luxury goods to or from the DPRK. Two individuals, Huseyin Sahin and Erhan Culha, have also been designated for acting for or on behalf of SIA Falcon. Huseyin Sahin is the CEO of SIA Falcon, holds 100 per cent of the voting capital, and is a member of its board of directors. Erhan Culha is the company’s general manager.

    Ri Song Un, the economic and commercial councillor at the DPRK embassy in Mongolia, has also been designated by OFAC, pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13687 (asset freeze and travel ban), for being an official of the DPRK government. Earlier in 2018, officials from SIA Falcon are said to have hosted Ri Song Un in Turkey to negotiate trade deals involving weapons and luxury goods. See OFAC Notice and U.S. Treasury press release.

    [Quoted in full (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style) from source European Sanctions]

    October 4, U.S. Treasury makes administrative updates to 100s of DPRK SDN entries as “Secondary sanctions risks”

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has made administrative changes to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List in respect of hundreds of organisations, vessels and individuals which are subject to U.S. DPRK sanctions.

    These updated entries are now flagged as being “Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210.” This is a reference to the North Korea Sanctions Regulations (NKSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 510. [The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations by which the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States operate.]

    In early 2016, Congress granted President Obama significant authority to impose secondary sanctions against entities in violation of existing restraints. Secondary sanctions measures target transactions in the U.S. financial markets and leverage the need of larger international businesses to access the U.S. clearing system. If a company trades with the DPRK in violation of sanctions, it could face exclusion from U.S. financial markets, or even asset freezes under these measures.

    In September 2017, President Trump signed a sweeping executive order (EO 13810) that effectively allowed him to impose such sanctions on any entity doing commercial business with the DPRK.

    Executive orders do not create new law but rather instruct federal agencies and executive departments to carry out specific actions under existing federal rules and regulations. To enable the tough new sanctions in Presidential executive orders to have full efffect, OFAC reissued the NKSR on March 1, 2018, making it a more complete set of regulations incorporating the underlying legal requirements of relevant executive orders and adding and expanding on provisions that are intended to provide a more comprehensive set of regulations, including additional definitional and interpretive guidance.

    Editor’s Note: Each entry in the SDN list has a tag that indicates under which executive order or federal regulation the person or entity was designated. In the case of entries relating to DPRK sanctions and actions targeting the DPRK’s development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the tags [NPWMD], [DPRK], [DPRK2], [DPRK3] and [DPRK4] are used. The definitions of these tags can be found here.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and OFAC SDN List Update]

    October 16, UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designates 3 vessels

    The Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designated three vessels that have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers, “likely for oil.” The three vessels are subject to de-flagging pursuant to paragraph 12 of UNSCR 2321 (2016) and prohibited from port entry pursuant to paragraph 6 of UNSCR 2371 (2017).

    The three vessels are:

    1. SHANG YUAN BAO (IMO 8126070)
    2. NEW REGENT (IMO 8312497)
    3. KUM UN SAN 3 (IMO 8705539)

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and UN Security Council Press Release]

    October 17, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice adding 3 vessels subject to restrictive measures

    On October 16, 2018 (see above) the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee updated its 1718 Sanctions List.

    The European Union (EU) has not yet followed suit so by virtue of the UK’s United Nations and European Union Financial Sanctions (Linking) Regulations 2017, the three vessels listed by the UN Sanctions Committee have been added to the consolidated list and are now subject to an asset freeze by the UK.

    This is a temporary holding measure and the asset freeze will cease to apply from November 15, 2018, unless the vessels are listed under EU Regulation 2017/1509.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and HMT Financial Sanctions Notice (PDF file)]

    October 25, European Union (EU) adds 3 vessels to list of those prohibited entry into ports

    On October 16, 2018, the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designated three vessels for a port entry ban and for deflagging.

    Council of the European Union implemented that Security Council decision by adopting Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1606 that amended Annex XIV to Regulation (EU) 2017/1509. Under the heading ‘B. Vessels which are prohibited entry into ports’ of Annex XIV, the following vessels are added to the list:

    1. SHANG YUAN BAO (IMO 8126070)
    2. NEW REGENT (IMO 8312497)
    3. KUM UN SAN 3 (IMO 8705539)

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    October 26, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice confirming restrictive measures against 3 vessels

    On October 17, 2018 the United Kingdom isued a Financial Sanctions Notice that added 3 vessels to its list of those subject to restrictive measures. Each vessel had engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer, likely of oil. The Notice was an immediate response by the UK to the action of the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee the previous day (see above).

    However that Notice was only a temporary holding measure and the asset freeze would have ceased to apply from November 15, 2018, unless the vessels were listed under EU Regulation 2017/1509. That listing has now taken place as noted in the previous entry.

    This later HMT Financial Sanctions Notice from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of Her Majesty’s Treasury amends the 3 entries the earlier Notice had created. For more details see this later Notice here (PDF file).

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    October 26, U.S. State Department issues press release about the 3 DPRK cargo vessel designations

    “The United States, along with partners, welcomes the October 16 announcement by the 1718 Committee on UN designations of vessels SHANG YUAN BAO, NEW REGENT, and KUM UN SAN 3 for engaging in UN-prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean ships” the press release says.

    The UN designations were a result of monitoring and cooperation by a number of countries: “The United States notes that this action follows recent announcements from Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom regarding monitoring and surveillance activities to detect UN-prohibited illicit North Korean maritime activities, with a particular focus on detecting and disrupting ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum to North Korean tankers in the East China Sea. The United States is also releasing imagery that demonstrates the results of this coordinated, multinational initiative, which includes these countries, along with Australia and New Zealand. In support of this initiative, the United States has deployed aircraft and surface vessels to detect and disrupt these activities.”

    The political message came at the end of the press release and reflects the hard-line stance by the White House on international sanctions against the DPRK: “The United States remains committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea. The full enforcement of North Korean-related UN Security Council Resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome. The international community must continue to enforce and implement UN Security Council Resolutions until North Korea denuclearizes.”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and U.S. State Department Press Release]

    November 6, European Union (EU) updates list of vessels subject to DPRK sanctions measures

    On October 3, 2017, the UN Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee designated four vessels for a port entry ban. On December 28, 2017, the 1718 Sanctions Committee designated another four vessels for a port entry ban. Then on March 30, 2018, the 1718 Sanctions Committee designated 15 vessels for an asset freeze and 25 vessels for a port entry ban.

    Further additional information regarding some of those vessels has been published by the UNSC 1718 Sanctions Committee in its list of designated vessels. Following a proposal from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to update the Commissions’s own DPRK sanctions lists in line with the 1718 Sanctions Committee changes, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/1657 amending Annex IV to Decision (CFSP) 2016/849 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1654 amending Annex XIV to Regulation (EU) 2017/1509. See Regulation 2018/1657 and 2018/1654 for details.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    November 19, U.S. Treasury adds South African national to DPRK sanctions list

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated Russia-born, South African national Vladlen Amtchentsev pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13722 [“Blocking Property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to North Korea”] for acting for or on behalf of Velmur Management Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based entity previously designated [see also timeline August 22, 2017 entry here] by the U.S. for being involved in the purchase of fuel oil and gasoil for the DPRK. As a result, Mr Amtchentsev will now be subject to a U.S. asset freeze and travel ban.

    See OFAC Notice and US Treasury Press Release.

    [Quoted from European Sanctions (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style)]

    November 22, United Kingdom (UK) brings into force new sanctions/ML legislation which, in part, deals with sanctions implementation when the UK exits the EU

    The UK government has adopted the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1213) which brings into force the vast majority of the remaining sections of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

    The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018:

    1. enables the UK to continue to implement United Nations (UN) sanctions regimes and to use sanctions to meet national security and foreign policy objectives; and
    2. enables anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures to be kept up to date, … and to continue to align the UK with international standards.

    These matters are currently mostly dealt with through EU law. This takes effect through the European Communities Act 1972 or through legislation made under it. The European Communities Act 1972 will be repealed when the UK withdraws from the European Union (EU).

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and European Sanctions]

    December 8, Australia amends Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s republic of Korea) Regulations 2008

    The Australian Government amended the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions – Democratic People’s republic of Korea) Regulations 2008 – Select Legislative Instrument No. 30, 2008 made under the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 – to give effect to certain United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions relating to the DPRK. The regulations give authority to the Minister for Foreign Affairs to make a notifiable instrument requiring that a vessel be prohibited from being registered in, or if already registered removed from, Australia’s shipping registers where this is required by UNSC resolutions. They also introduce prohibitions on the provision of classification services, insurance services and reinsurance services to DPRK-related vessels whose registration has been cancelled.

    Full details of Australia’s sanctions on the DPRK can be found here [as of December 8, 2018].

    See also Restrictions regarding vessels and aircraft. This page summarises Australia’s restrictions regarding DPRK vessels and aircraft. It applies to both Australia’s implementation of the UN Security Council sanctions regime and its own autonomous sanctions regime.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    December 10, ROK formally accuses 4 South Korean individuals and 5 entities of illegally importing North Korean coal

    A 44-year-old South Korean female was arrested and charged by Daegu District Public Prosecutor’s Office on suspicion of violating the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act, while three individuals and five corporate bodies were indicted without detention three days earlier.

    The four South Korean individuals and five entities were formally accused of illegally importing North Korean coal and other sanctioned commodities into the country. The prosecution allege that the defendants had brought North Korean coal into the South by obscuring its country of origin through, among other techniques, the creation of false certificate of origin and transhipment through the Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk.

    The UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2371, adopted August 5, 2017, introduced a full ban on the DPRK-produced coal, iron, and iron ore.

    The full NK News story can be found here.

    [Source: NK News]

    December 10, U.S. Treasury sanctions 3 DPRK individuals for “ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship”

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three individuals in response to the “North Korean regime’s ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship.” The three individuals are subject to the freezing of assets within (or transiting) U.S. jurisdiction. They are:

    1. Jong Kyong Thaek, the Minister of State Security (MSS), designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13687 for being an official of the Government of North Korea and of the Worker’s Party of Kore (WPK). According to the Department of State report, Jong Kyong Thaek plays a role in directing the censorship activities and abuses perpetrated by the MSS. The MSS was designated previously pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the WPK.
    2. Choe Ryong Hae, the Director of the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), designated pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being an official of the WPK. Choe Ryong Hae is reportedly seen as the “Number Two” official with control over the party, government, and military. The OGD is an agency of the Central Committee of the WPK. “It is a powerful body of the North Korean regime, is instrumental in implementing censorship policies, and purports to control the political affairs of all North Koreans. The OGD also assumes oversight responsibilities over organizations undergoing party audits to inspect for ideological discipline. When a party official deviates from the official message in public remarks, the OGD reportedly will dispatch an official to monitor a self-criticism session.” Choe Ryong Hae is also a member of several powerful WPK committees, including Vice Chairman of the Executive Policy Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.
    3. Pak Kwang Ho, the Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), designated pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being an official of the WPK. The PAD is more formally known as the Publicity and Information Department of the Central Committee of the WPK. It is tasked with coordinating the creation and dissemination of propaganda in the DPRK.

    The Treasury press release explicitly links this latest action to the death of Otto Warmbier. It states that “Treasury is sanctioning senior North Korean officials who direct departments that perpetrate the regime’s brutal state-sponsored censorship activities, human rights violations and abuses, and other abuses in order to suppress and control the population…. Today’s actions shine a spotlight on North Korea’s reprehensible treatment of those in North Korea, and serve as a reminder of North Korea’s brutal treatment of U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier, who passed away 18 months ago. Otto would have turned 24 years old on December 12, and his parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier and the rest of his family continue to mourn for him. President Trump pledged in his 2018 State of the Union address that the United States will “honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.” Today’s actions are part of this Administration’s continued efforts to highlight North Korea’s abysmal human rights record, and to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and U.S. Treasury Press Release]

    2019

    January 21, European Union (EU) removes deceased entries from DPRK sanctions list

    The EU has removed two entries, Chu Kyu-Chang and Kim Yong-chun, from its North Korea sanctions list as both are now deceased. See Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/96 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/93.

    Update March 26, 2019: EU announced that a number of 3rd countries (that is, countries not currently members of the European Union) have aligned themselves with this decision.

    [Source: European Sanctions]

    January 23, United Kingdom (UK) issues Financial Sanctions Notice amending listing of 2 persons subject to restrictive measures

    On January 21, 2019 (see above) Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1509 imposing financial sanctions against the DPRK was amended to remove the names of two deceased persons from its North Korea sanctions list.

    That change in EU regulations was applicable to the UK as an EU Member State so the United Kingdom’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) of HM Treasury issued a Financial Sanctions Notice that correspondingly removed Kyu-Chang CHU (Group ID: 11029) and Yong-Chun KIM (Group ID: 11033) from the UK’s consolidated list, adding perhaps unnecessarily that they “are no longer subject to an asset freeze.”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 5, UN publishes final report of the Security Council 1718 Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts

    In paragraph 2 of UNSCR 2407 (2018), the Security Council requested the Panel of Experts established pursuant to UNSCR 1874 (2009) to provide a final report to the Council with its findings and recommendations and to do so no later than March 14, 2019. This the Panel did in its report here. NB The report is a very large (60MB+) Word document.

    The report’s summary says that the “nuclear and ballistic missile programmes of the DPRK remain intact” and the country continues to defy the Security Council through its widespread and “rampant violations of [UN sanctions] resolutions”.

    It lists 27 countries in which sanctions breaches, both military and financial/trade, have been notified to the Panel and/or in which the Panel has carried out investigations; some of these investigations are ongoing as of March 2019.

    Recent Military/Nuclear Sanctions Violations

    • Engagement “in clandestine nuclear procurement” by two designated North Korean entities, Namchongang Trading Corporation and Namhung Trading Corporation and associated front companies and their representatives was being investigated.
    • Continuing investigation of military cooperation (advisory missions, training, etc) between the DPRK and Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Islamic Republic of Iran, Libya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic.
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the two most lucrative markets for DPRK military-related cooperation” according to one UN Member State.
    • Syria was the focus of multiple investigations of alleged continuing and serious sanctions breaches, including the “presence of nationals of the DPRK working on behalf of designated entities of the DPRK in the country, as well as Syrian arms brokers attempting to sell military equipment of the DPRK in multiple Middle Eastern and African Member States.”
      • Paragraph 90 of the report refers to Syrian arms brokers offering conventional arms and, in some cases, ballistic missiles, to armed groups in Yemen and Libya.

    Recent Trade and Financial Sanctions Violations

    • The DPRK continues to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products and coal.
      • The Panel says that these violations render the latest UN sanctions ineffective by flouting the caps on the import of petroleum products and crude oil by the DPRK as well as the total ban on coal exports by the DPRK, imposed in August 2017 by UNSCR 2371 in response to the country’s “unprecedented nuclear and ballistic missile testing.”
      • The Panel also says that global banks and insurance companies continue to unwittingly facilitate payments and provide coverage for vessels involved in ever-larger, multi-million-dollar, illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as an increasing number of ship-to-ship coal transfers and attempted transshipments.

    • Diplomats of the DPRK continue to play a key role in sanctions evasion.
      • They are circumventing “the assets freeze and the limit on the number of diplomatic bank accounts by holding accounts in the name of family members and front companies and by establishing accounts in multiple jurisdictions.”
      • The Panel also notes that “diplomats continue to travel under false accreditation in their passports and have also facilitated the country’s efforts to illegally export large quantities of coal through transshipment to disguise the origin.”
    • Sophisticated cyber attacks are being carried out by the DPRK on a range of financial institutions and other organisations as “a means to evade financial sanctions and to gain foreign currency.”

    Recent Luxury Goods Sanctions Violations – see luxury goods sanctions on the NKhumanitarian web site.

    • Two Singaporean companies (OCN and T Specialist International) which have been involved in multi-million dollar sanctions breaches to supply the DPRK with luxury goods are being investigated.
    • The first public appearance of a Rolls-Royce Phantom limousine in Pyongyang on October 7, 2018.
      • This is an apparent violation of the luxury goods ban stipulated in paragraph 8(a)(iii) of UNSCR 1718 (2006) and paragraph 23 and annex IV of UNSCR 2094 (2013), prohibiting the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of luxury automobiles. There is an ongoing investigation.
    • Illicitly obtained Mercedes-Benz limousines used by DPRK officials and seen in Singapore in June 2018, Beijing in June 2018 and March 2018 and in Pyongyang in September 2018 are being investigated.
    • The appearance of a number of Lexus LX 570 all-wheel drive luxury vehicles bearing number plates of the DPRK at the inter-Korean summit of September 2018. This is also an apparent violation of UNSCR 1718 (2006) and UNSCR 2094 (2013.

    The Impact of Sanctions on UN Agencies and Humanitarian Organisations

    In its report the Panel states that UN Member States, UN agencies and humanitarian organisations have expressed concern that despite the exemption provisions in the UN sanctions resolutions and the 1718 Sanctions Committee’s efforts, UN agencies and humanitarian organisations continue to experience difficulties in meeting critical life-saving needs of vulnerable populations in the DPRK.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 19, Second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un takes place in Hanoi

    The meeting ended abruptly, cut short by several hours, with each side giving differing accounts of why it ended in failure.

    In his version of events, Trump said the deal had broken down because Kim wanted complete sanctions relief for dismantling the main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, but the U.S. wanted other nuclear facilities, including covert sites, disabled as well.

    “It was about the sanctions basically,” Trump said at a press conference in Hanoi. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that … Sometimes you have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”

    North Korea disputed Trump’s explanation. Its foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said Pyongyang had only demanded partial sanctions relief in return for closing Yongbyon. He said the U.S. had wasted an opportunity that “may not come again” and Pyongyang’s position would not change even if the US seeks further talks.

    [Source: The Guardian]

    March 21, U.S. Treasury publishes guidance on DPRK illicit shipping practices and designates 2 entities

    The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), along with the Departments of State and the U.S. Coast Guard, has published updated guidance focused on the DPRK’s illicit shipping practices. This advisory alerts persons globally to deceptive shipping practices used by the DPRK to evade sanctions, and provides industry with guidance to mitigate risk associated with these deceptive practices.

    OFAC’s Notice announcing the updated guidance notes that since initial publication of the guidance in February 2018, the DPRK has continued to engage in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum, which exposes parties involved in the shipping industry, including insurers, flag registries, shipping companies, and financial institutions to significant sanctions risk. The advisory contains new red flags and typologies for industry to be aware of, and provides an update on the deceptive shipping tactics used by North Korea.

    In addition, the OFAC Notice added two entities to its SDN List: Dalian Haibo International Freight: Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210 [Executive Order 13722] and Liaoning Danxing International Forwarding: Secondary sanctions risk: North Korea Sanctions Regulations, sections 510.201 and 510.210; Registration Number 91210200242663544B [Executive Order 13810].

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors]

    March 23, President Trump confusion about U.S. DPRK sanctions

    After OFAC had published new DPRK shipping sanctions guidance and had designated two entities (see March 21 entry above), President Trump then said on twitter: “It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

    Maya Lester QC refers to this on her European Sanctions web site and notes that “[i]t is not clear whether Mr Trump was referring to the shipping company sanctions or a round of new sanctions that had not yet been announced. Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, said ‘President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,’ without explaining what ‘these sanctions’ refers to.”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Maya Lester QC at European Sanctions]

    March 23, President Trump tried to undo DPRK sanctions, contrary to U.S. account

    Update on the story above is that President Trump tweeted that he withdrew North Korea sanctions but U.S. officials then talked him out of the move and devised a cover story.

    According to Bloomberg “President Donald Trump last week intended to reverse sanctions imposed on two Chinese shipping companies (see above) accused of violating North Korea trade prohibitions — until officials in his administration persuaded him to back off and then devised a misleading explanation of his vague tweet announcing the move.”

    This story was summarised more pithily by Voice of America (VOA) Seoul/NE Asia correspondent William Gallo in a tweet that said:

    1. U.S. issues sanctions against Chinese shipping companies
    2. Trump tries to reverse the sanctions via Twitter
    3. U.S. officials convince Trump to back down
    4. U.S. officials lie, saying Trump was actually reversing other, new sanctions

    There were no additional “new sanctions” planned for announcement by OFAC which it is claimed Trump was really referring to.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Bloomberg]

    March 26, European Union (EU) announces alignment of 3rd countries to earlier EU sanctions actions against the DPRK

    On January 21, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Decision CFSP 2019/96 amending Council Decision (CFSP) 2016/849, which removed two individuals from its DPRK sanctions lists. It has now announced that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova, and Armenia have aligned themselves with this decision.

    Editor’s Note: These are called “3rd countries” by the EU because they are not EU member states. However they all have strong economic and/or diplomatic relationships of various kinds with the EU.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and EU Press Release]

    April 2, Lloyd’s issues guidance to the re(insurance) market on DPRK, Syrian and Iranian sanctions exposure risk

    Lloyd’s of London published a market bulletin (as a PDF file) to advise the London (re)insurance market on sanctions exposure risk in relation to the DPRK, Syria and Iran, including identifying proliferation financing and sanctions evasion tactics.

    While the guidance primarily relates to marine cargo and hull classes and exposure to sanctions programmes targeting the DPRK, Syria and Iran, it is also intended to outline best practice principles regarding broader sanctions due diligence and screening for the London (re)insurance market.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Michael O’Kane at europeansanctions.com]

    April 10, UN Security Council unanimously adopts resolution 2464 extending mandate of the Panel of Experts aiding the DPRK Sanctions Committee

    The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted UNSC Resolution 2464 (2019) extending until April 24, 2020, the mandate of the Panel of Experts that assists the 1718 Committee in its dedicated roll of overseeing UN sanctions against the DPRK. The Panel of Experts produced the final report of its previous mandate on March 5.

    In comments released after the adoption of UNSCR 2464, the respresentatives on the UN Security Council of both France and the U.S. noted that the DPRK was still violating and evading sanctions, and in increasingly diverse and sophisticated ways.

    The representative of the Russian Federation noted “concerns expressed by humanitarians about the impact of sanctions on the lives of the [DPRK’s] people”, while the UK representative said that the “[Security] Council is right to continue monitoring the humanitarian exemption process through the 1718 Committee.”

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and UNSC Press Release]

    May 4, DPRK conducts test of a new short-range ballistic missile

    The DPRK conducted a test of a short-range ballistic missile along with a drill involving 240 millimeter- and 300 millimeter-caliber multiple rocket launchers. The launches took place near Wonsan on the country’s east coast.

    The new short-range missile is believed to be modeled after Russia’s 9K720 Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system. The solid-fuel missile, first revealed in a military parade in Pyongyang in February 2018, is designed to be maneuverable during flight to boost its accuracy and thwart interception.

    Experts noted that despite its physical resemblance, the North Korean missile may be a less capable version of the Russian Iskander, which can carry a nuclear warhead and strike targets as far away as 500 kilometers (310 miles). However a less capable version is still a clear danger to U.S. allies and American troops stationed in the region as the distance between Wonsan and the South Korean capital of Seoul is roughly 200 kilometers (124 miles).

    The DPRK last conducted a major missile test in November 2017 when it flight-tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that demonstrated the potential capability to reach deep into the U.S. mainland.

    Following diplomatic moves after that test, the DPRK said it would not test nuclear devices or ICBMs. The latest missile, which the North’s media referred to only as a “tactical guided weapon,” appears to fall well below that threshold.

    This latest test of a ballistic missile comes just two weeks after a drill of a South Korea-based THAAD air-defense system by U.S. troops which North Korea strongly condemned.

    The DPRK’s missile test also came just days after the United States tested its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Base in California. Though such launches are planned well in advance and not directed at any specific country, they are seen by the DPRK as highly provocative.

    [Source: Military Times]

    May 9, DPRK launches two suspected “short-range missiles”

    Following its test of a new ballistic missile just 5 days earlier, the DPRK launched two suspected “short-range missiles” from Kusong in the DPRK’s northwest.

    Unlike the earlier test which took place on the country’s east coast, these two missiles flew over populated areas of the country on their flight eastward, reaching flight ranges of 420 kilometers (260 miles) and 270 kilometers respectively and an altitude of 50 kilometers before landing in the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

    According to the state news agency KCNA, the launches were designed to test the military’s “rapid reaction” ability.

    [Source: CNN]

    May 9, U.S. Government seizes North Korean cargo vessel connected to sanctions violations

    The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the successful filing in a Manhattan federal court of a civil forfeiture complaint against M/V Wise Honest, a 17,061-ton, single-hull bulk carrier ship registered in the DPRK.

    The Wise Honest, one of the DPRK’s largest bulk carriers, was used to illicitly ship coal from North Korea and to deliver heavy machinery to the DPRK. According to the DoJ statement, payments for maintenance, equipment, and improvements of the Wise Honest were made in U.S. dollars through unwitting U.S. banks. This conduct violates longstanding U.S. law and UN Security Council resolutions.

    The Wise Honest is currently in the custody of the United States after being moved from Indonesia to American Samoa. It was first detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. That country’s authorities intercepted and seized the Wise Honest in the East China Sea a month after it was photographed at the port of Nampo, North Korea, where it took on a load of coal. The captain of the ship was charged and convicted in Indonesia with violating that country’s maritime laws.

    Editor’s Note #1: While the U.S. claims that this civil action is the first-ever seizure of a North Korean registered cargo vessel for violating international sanctions, it is not the first seizure of a vessel for suspected breaches of UN sanctions against the DPRK. On December 28, 2017, South Korea seized and inspected the Hong Kong registered Lighthouse Winmore then three days later, on December 31, it seized and inspected the Panama registered KOTI.

    Editor’s Note #2: UNSCR 2397 (2017) provides measures for UN Member States to seize, inspect or impound any vessel in their territorial waters, should they have reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by Security Council resolutions.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, Navy Times and AP]

    May 31, U.S. Government publishes its 2018 Terrorist Assets Report

    The U.S. Goverment currently designates four countries as being a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’. They are Iran, Sudan, Syria, and the DPRK. The DPRK designation was made by the U.S. State Department on November 20, 2017.

    The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury has just published its Calendar Year 2018 Twenty-seventh Annual Report to the Congress on Assets in the United States Relating to Terrorist Countries and Organizations Engaged in International Terrorism.

    In the case of the DPRK, sanctions are targeted not only on the Government of North Korea, but also individuals and entities acting on its behalf or engaging in other North Korea-related activity, so the reported figure may include the blocked assets of all these parties.

    The 2018 Report above shows that State Sponsors of Terrorism have in total $216.83 million of blocked funds, up from $201.53 million in 2017. Of that increase, the overwhelming bulk is due to the DPRK (almost $11 million), with Iran ($2.9 million) and Syria ($1.4 million) making up the rest.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and Eric A. Sohn (AKA Mr Watchlist) at mrwatchlist.com]

    June 13, U.S. seeks declaration from UN Security Council on DPRK sanctions breaches

    A U.S. compiled report, signed by 25 other countries (NB some reports say the U.S. + 26 other countries), was submitted to the UN Security Council complaining that Pyongyang had violated a UN-set cap on refined petroleum product imports by conducting dozens of clandestine ship-to-ship transfers at sea, which break international sanctions. UN sanctions adopted by the international community in UNSC 2397 (December 2016) set an annual cap of 500,000 barrels on the export to the DPRK of these petroleum products.

    According to AP, the complaint said the 500,000-barrel annual limit on refined petroleum products “is critical to maintaining pressure” on the DPRK to achieve the denuclearisation of the country.

    The report asked the UN Security Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee on the DPRK to determine that the petroleum products cap had been broken, and requested that all UN countries should then stop any future transfers of petroleum products to the country. Security Council members had until June 18 to object to these requests.

    The U.S. has previously accused the DPRK of breaching UN sanctions on refined petroleum products (see report in South China Morning Post July 13, 2018, for example) and had attempted then to get the 1718 Sanctions Committee to publicly declare the DPRK of violating the annual quota but this was blocked by Russia and China.

    This was despite (or perhaps because of) the UN Security Council blacklisting in March 2018 dozens of ships and shipping companies over oil and coal smuggling by the DPRK after the 1718 Sanctions Committee’s Panel of Experts had noted ‘a massive increase in illegal ship to ship transfers of petroleum products and coal’.

    UN sanctions rules require countries to report monthly sales of refined petroleum products to the 1718 Sanctions Committee. Russian and Chinese companies are the key suppliers of petroleum products to the DPRK.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors, CNN, and AP]

    June 19, Russia, China block UN Security Council from declaring that the DPRK violated sanctions on import of refined petroleum products

    Russia and China have blocked the U.N. Security Council’s 1718 Sanctions Committee (which monitors sanctions against the DPRK) from declaring that Pyongyang breached the annual limit for importing refined petroleum products which are key for its economy. Their objection came after the U.S. and 25 other countries had submitted a report (see above) to the 1718 Sanctions Committee complaining that the DPRK had violated a UN-set cap on refined petroleum product imports and requesting a declaration from the Committee that the country was in breach of UN sanctions.

    Russia and China had notified the 1718 Sanctions Committee before the June 18 deadline for ojections to this request.

    [Source: NKhumanitarian Editors and AP]

    June 19, U.S. Government lists Russian financial institution for supporting DPRK sanctions evasion

    The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced the designation of the Russian Financial Society pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for having provided financial services to US and UN-designated Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade, the DPRK’s primary foreign exchange bank, and to a chief representative of Korea Zinc Industrial Group.

    In 2017 and 2018, the Russian Financial Society “opened multiple bank accounts for Dandong Zhonsheng”, thereby enabling the DPRK to circumvent international sanctions and “to gain access to the global financial system in order to generate revenue for the Kim regime’s nuclear program.” OFAC Notice and Treasury Press Release.

    [Quoted from Michael O’Kane at European Sanctions (with minor changes for consistency with timeline style)]

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