Concerns continue to rise in the Korean Peninsula as United Nations imposes new sanctions on the north following its nuclear tests last December
by, Artur Tofan
Current Affairs Editor
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on March 7, 2013 to impose new tighter sanctions against North Korea in the wake of its third nuclear test conducted last December.
The 15-member U.N. council tightened the process of cargo inspections and imposed new financial restrictions after North Korean Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) was linked to the nuclear weapon program. “North Korea uses FTB to facilitate transactions on behalf of actors linked to its proliferation network, which is under increasing pressure from recent international sanctions,” said David Cohen, U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The U.N. resolution warns the North to cease further provocations and threats, urging all countries to freeze any financial transactions with the Pyongyang. ‘[The sanctions] did have a major effect; they also paralyzed diplomacy. There is no diplomacy happening now,” stressed Hazel Smith, an expert on the North Korea at Cranfield University.
U.S. reinforced its own sanctions against the North, prohibiting any personal transactions with the communist country and created a blacklist of individuals tied to North Korea’s nuclear activities. Among those named in the list is Pak To-Chun, head of Pyongyang’s Agency for Weapons Production and Arms Exports, Chu Kyu-Chang, who directs the Agency for Munitions Industry Department, and O Kuk-Ryol, vice chairman of the North Korean National Defense Commission.
“The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” said Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration, during his speech to the Asia Society in New York on March 11, 2013. “Nor will we stand by while it seeks to develop a nuclear-armed missile that can target the United States.”
Scientists are still analyzing what exactly was the nature of the Pyongyang’s latest tests but most of them agree that North Korea is still years away from acquiring nuclear heads small enough be mounted on missiles that could be used for long distance strikes. However, every test could push the country a step closer to acquiring the ability to potentially hit the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction.