New North Korean Sanctions Target Luxury Goods, Nuclear Materials

The sanctions take aim at the importation of luxury goods, in addition to imposing new travel bans and asset freezes.

North Korean Sanctions 2013

By LUKE VARGAS

UNITED NATIONS (TRNS) – Yachts, sports cars, sapphires, and rubies all received mention in the latest round of sanctions on North Korea adopted today by a unanimous vote of the U.N. Security Council.

The sanctions codified an existing ban on the export of luxury goods to the country that has been in place 2006, resulting in a colorful display of diplomatic specificity.

Observers have been concerned in past years that North Korea’s elite had been able to acquire luxury goods because individual countries retained the power to decide which items fell under that distinction.

The list of materials and technology suspected of being used in the DPRK’s nuclear program was also updated in the sanction’s annexes. U.N. member states are called upon to inspect all shipments destined for North Korea to ensure no prohibited items reach the country.

Although not as punitive as some hoped, the sanctions triggered an intense response from North Korea, which included a threat of preemptive nuclear attacks on the U.S. and a pledge to end the 1953 Korean War armistice beginning March 11th.

North Korea has also announced it will be withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a move the latest sanctions strongly condemned.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautioned North Korea against further belligerence, urging the government of Kim Jung-Un to engage with the international community.

“At a time of new political leadership throughout the region, the Secretary-General urges Pyongyang to reverse course and build confidence with the country’s neighbours,” Ban said.

The latest round of U.N. sanctions was triggered by a nuclear test conducted in North Korea on February 12th, the country’s third such test since 2006.

The White House, meanwhile, responded to North Korea’s threat to launch a “preemptive” nuclear weapons against the U.S..

“The United States is fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack,” said spokesman Jay Carney.

Carney urged North Korea to abandon its tough talk, and return to the negotiating table with other world powers.

Geoff Holtzman contributed to this report.

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Luke Vargas
Luke Vargas is a New York-based reporter for Talk Radio News Service, anchoring world news coverage from the United Nations. Follow Luke on Twitter @TheCourier
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