North Korea is expected to be banned by the U.N. Security Council from trade in items that it can adapt for use in its uranium program, an unidentified South Korean envoy told the Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.
China and the United States reached agreement on a raft of new measures to penalize the North for carrying out another nuclear test last month; the 15-member Security Council is anticipated to approve the new sanctions resolution before the week is over.
The draft resolution will include measures targeting for the first time Pyongyang’s “uranium enrichment program,” the diplomatic source said.
Other measures will go after the means by which North Korean diplomats and personnel smuggle hard currency and prohibited items back to the North, according to Reuters.
“All states shall inspect all (North Korea-linked) cargo within or transiting through their territory …. if the state concerned has credible information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited,” the unfinalized version of the resolution reads. North Korean vessels that will not permit their cargo to be examined are to be denied permission to make port calls in that country.
The draft additionally “calls upon states to deny permission to any aircraft to take off from, land in or overfly their territory, if they have information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft contains (banned items).”
Such checks of North Korean ships and aircraft are presently not mandated.
The resolution also would specifically prohibit the import of more luxury items including high-end cars and boats that the Kim Jong Un regime relies on to maintain the favor of the North Korean ruling class, an unidentified Security Council envoy informed Reuters.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Tuesday told reporters the resolution “builds up, strengthens and significantly expands the scope of the strong U.N. sanctions already in place" following the North's previous nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
"North Korea will be subject to some of the toughest sanctions imposed by the United Nations," Rice asserted.
News of the coming penalties and ongoing U.S.-South Korea large-scale military drills predictably elicited outrage from the North, which threatened to cut off a military hotline with the United States and to pull out of the 1953 truce agreement that ended Korean War armed hostilities. Pyongyang, though, has made similar threats before.
The North warned Seoul and Washington that they could faces strikes by "lighter and smaller nukes," the New York Times reported.
South Korea said it would not tolerate any new hostilities by the North Korean military and would respond with force against Pyongyang’s senior leaders, Reuters separately reported.
The North is giving off signs of preparing for military exercises that could include launching of short- and medium-range missiles.
"We have all preparations in place for strong and decisive punishment, not only against the source of the aggression and its support force but also the commanding element," army Maj. Gen. Kim Yong-hyun told journalists.