The United States announced on Monday that it will present a new UN sanctions resolution to punish North Korea for its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
The UN Security Council has imposed seven sets of sanctions on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
Here’s a look at the UN sanctions in place, which have progressively been tightened:
– Arms embargo –
The Security Council first imposed an arms embargo and a ban on a range of imports and exports to prevent North Korea from conducting nuclear tests or launching ballistic missiles in October 2006.
In June 2009 the ban was extended to all military material, financial transactions and technical training related to the supply and use of arms, nuclear and missile technology.
In 2013 that provision was further strengthened to allow countries to seize and destroy material connected to North Korea’s weapons programs.
In 2016, the council expanded sanctions to include mandatory inspections of all cargo from North Korea at all airports and ports.
– Travel, luxury goods, assets –
A UN sanctions committee was established in 2006 to put together a blacklist of persons and entities deemed to be providing support to North Korea’s banned programs. The sanctions list currently contains 62 individuals and 50 entities.
The targeted sanctions provide for a global travel ban and a freeze on their assets.
All countries have to prevent the sale of luxury goods, like watches and sports equipment, to North Korea, a measure designed to hit Pyongyang’s elites.
– Exports –
In March 2016, the council toughened sanctions by banning exports of coal, iron and iron ore from North Korea, except in cases where the revenue did not benefit the North Korean military or Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
Pyongyang was also prohibited from exporting gold, titanium and rare minerals used in high tech products and can no longer buy aviation fuel including rocket fuel, except for passenger planes.
On November 30, 2016, in a new resolution, the UN tightened the noose, capping exports of North Korean coal to China, which is currently the only market for North Korean coal.
In August, after two launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the council imposed a total ban on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, fish and seafood.
It also froze work permits for North Korean laborers sent abroad to earn hard currency for the regime.
– Are sanctions effective ? –
Experts and diplomats agree that sanctions have a limited impact and are only one tool in the broader international effort to persuade North Korea to change its behavior.
UN sanctions experts have reported to the council that North Korea has found ways to circumvent sanctions and that implementation by UN member-states is weak.
Some diplomats argue that the most recent sanctions have been significantly tougher, targeting North Korea’s economy, and that those will take some time to have an impact.
China has steadfastly rejected calls for an oil embargo, fearing that an economic collapse in neighboring North Korea would lead to chaos and a more dangerous security crisis on the Korean peninsula.
Meanwhile, individual countries have imposed unilateral sanctions, notably the United States, the European Union and Japan.