UN Security Council expands sanctions against North Korea

This undated photo released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday shows Kim Jong Un inspecting a test-fire of a ballistic missile.

Story highlights

  • Haley: "Security council is sending a clear message to North Korea today"
  • Tensions with Russia ran high during Friday's meeting

(CNN)The UN security council unanimously passed a resolution with new sanctions against North Korea Friday after the regime launched its ninth ballistic missile test of the year.

The resolution slapped even more UN sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) and condemns the regime's continued proliferation of its nuclear and ballistic program. The new sanctions extend a travel ban and asset freeze on high-level North Korean officials and state entities that deal with the program, according to the resolution.
    The new asset and travel freeze by this resolution target senior officials and its core military apparatus that are directly responsible for the regime's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, South Korea ambassador to the UN, Cho Tae-Yul, told the council on Friday.
    The list of expanded sanctions also included state officials and banks.
    "Some DPRK businessmen and commercial entities are also newly designated, which I believe will help further restrict the DPRK's ability to finance its illicit activities," he said.
    Though US military exercises in the Korean peninsula have been controversial in the international community, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged security council members to enforce the new sanctions.
    "The security council is sending a clear message to North Korea today -- stop firing ballistic missiles or face the consequences," Haley said after the vote.
    "Countries must also do more to break up North Korean smuggling rings, and cut off the sources of funding North Korea uses to pay for the development of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them," she said in a statement.
    Ambassadors of countries such as France and Italy supported the resolution but stressed that sanctions are only a means to an end, not a goal realized.
    "Sanctions are not a goal in itself but as long as DPRK doesn't stop its behavior, we'll have no other choice than reinforcing the pressure on the regime," Permanent Representative of France to the UN Francois Delattre told reporters Friday.
    Tensions with Russia ran high in the security council meeting Friday.
    New US sanctions were announced Thursday in anticipation of the UN resolution restricting alleged suppliers to the North Korea's weapons programs, according to the US Treasury.

    Russia criticizes North Korea and US

    Deputy UN ambassador Vladimir Safronkov criticized the US unilateral action, citing three Russian entities and a Russian national newly blacklisted.
    "We are compelled to point out that after change of administration in the United States, and the sanctions as though by inertia remain a constant of American policy and this includes attempts to use them against Russian entities and citizens," Safronkov said during the security council meeting.
    Russia, who historically is often a deciding factor in security council votes, condemned DPRK behavior, but not without voicing continued disapproval of US military muscle flexing against North Korea.
    "The reason for the tension on the peninsula is not just the nuclear missiles of Pyongyang but also the heightened military activity of some regional and especially out of the region states in Northeast Asia," Safronkov said.
    US ambassador Haley, however, reaffirmed recent US policy in the region is precautionary.
    "The United States is fully committed to defending ourselves and our allies against North Korean aggression," Haley said.
    Safronkov named the controversial American anti-missile THAAD system as destabilizing factor" in the region and called on the US and South Korea to reconsider recent military exercises.
    The missile defense system is built to take down North Korean missile, according to te US military. The US military arrived in South Korea after North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles back in March.

    North Korea shows no sign of budging

    Experts seem to think the recent ramp-up in US military presence in the region seems only to be escalating the situation.
    "There is no amount of military pressure alone that will compel Kim Jong Un to volunteer to eliminate his nuclear and missile programs," Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told CNN.
    Statements from Pyongyang say their missile program is a defense against threatening American forces.
    "On May 29, the US imperialists committed a grave military provocation by letting a formation of infamous B-1B nuclear strategic bombers fly over south Korea once again to stage a nuclear bomb dropping drill," said a statement from North Korea's state-run media outlet KCNA.
    "The gangster-like US imperialists are making all the more desperate in their moves to ignite a nuclear war despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK," it said.
    Mount, the Center for American Progress analyst, says the fact that the US hasn't given North Korea any "red lines" it cannot cross means the Kim regime has no reason to stop moving ahead with its nuclear missile program.
    "Deterrence requires clear communication to work effectively," Mount said.
    The Trump administration "seems to stake its credibility on North Korea refraining from developing an ICBM, without sending a strong signal to deter it from doing so. It's the worst of both worlds," he said.