Security Council Supports Sanctions on North Korea


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

October 15, 2006

Security Council Supports Sanctions on North Korea

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 14 ‹ The Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to 
impose strict sanctions on North Korea for its reported nuclear test, overcoming
objections from Russia and China by explicitly excluding the threat of military 

The resolution, drafted by the United States, clears the way for the toughest 
international action against North Korea since the end of the Korean War. 
Primarily, it bars the sale or transfer of material that could be used to make 
nuclear, biological and chemical weapons or ballistic missiles, and it bans 
international travel and freezes the overseas assets of people associated with 
the North¹s weapons programs.

In its most debated clause, the resolution authorizes all countries to inspect 
cargo going in and out of North Korea to detect illicit weapons.

That power was the sticking point in days of what the Russian ambassador called 
³tense negotiations² with China and Russia that continued up until minutes 
before the final vote Saturday afternoon. And less than an hour after joining in
the Council vote for the resolution, the Chinese ambassador, Wang Guangya, said 
China would not participate in the inspection regime because it would create 
³conflict that could have serious implications for the region.²

He said China supported the resolution as a necessary way to respond to 
Pyongyang¹s ³flagrant² behavior.

The 15-0 vote came days after North Korea¹s claim it had tested a nuclear 
device, reflecting the immediate global alarm that such a weapon could wind up 
in the hands of terrorists or other rogue states. Indeed, the resolution¹s 
wording hit most of the tough points the United States and Japan, in particular,
had sought.

But China¹s refusal to take part in searches, and Russia¹s seeming annoyance at 
the end of the process, immediately raised questions about how effective the 
resolution¹s execution could be. And it raised the prospect, too, that similar 
action sought by the United States against Iran could face a much tougher 

After the vote, John R. Bolton, the American ambassador, insisted that China was
bound by the resolution¹s terms and would have to find a way to comply with the 
inspection provision. ³I can¹t believe that China won¹t adhere to obligations 
that the Security Council has imposed,² he said.

Ambassador Pak Gil-yon of North Korea told the Council that his government 
³totally rejected² the resolution, and he accused the panel¹s members of 
³gangster-like² action and a ³double standards² attitude that neglected the 
nuclear threat posed by the United States.

He said if the United States continued to ³increase pressure² on North Korea, 
his government would consider it a declaration of war and take ³critical 
countermeasures.² He then rose from his guest seat at the end of the 
horseshoe-shaped table and left.

Mr. Bolton asked to be heard and pointed to the empty chair, saying Mr. Pak¹s 
impulsive departure was the equivalent of Khrushchev¹s pounding his desk in 
protest in the General Assembly. The Russian ambassador, Vitaly I. Churkin, 
complained that the reference, even at a moment that he described as Mr. 
Bolton¹s ³emotional state,² was ³an inappropriate analogy.²

Current and former Bush administration officials, and experts on the North, said
that while the sanctions did not go as far as Washington wished, they probably 
gave it and Japan the legal means to squeeze the country. They provide the basis
to inspect ships in ports around the world ‹ though not necessarily on the high 
seas ‹ and gives Washington a way to expand a program to force banks to halt 
dealings with the country.

Earlier this year, Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said that 
the huge pressure put on one small bank in Macao, Banco Delta Asia, ³was the 
first thing we ever did that got their attention.² Today one of his aides said, 
³Our plan is that Banco Delta is just a beginning.²

What the administration did not get was authority to use military force to stop 
ships in international waters. To win over China, it agreed to drop explicit 
reference to a chapter of the United Nations Charter that authorizes the 
possible use of military power to enforce sanctions.

³This isn¹t going to be like the Cuban missile crisis, where we put up a full 
blockade,² said Michael Green, who led Asia operations on the National Security 
Council staff until last year, and is now at the Center for Strategic and 
International Studies.

The big loophole concerns policing the North¹s border with China. The two 
countries had about $1.7 billion in trade last year. The Chinese declaration 
Saturday cast doubt on the likelihood that China would inspect, much less stop, 
much of the trade moving across that border.

Speaking Saturday outside the White House, President Bush said the resolution 
sent ³a clear message to the leader of North Korea regarding his weapons 
programs. This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says 
that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korea Peninsula is

In addition to the sanctions and search regime, the resolution demands that 
North Korea abandon its illicit weapons programs and rejoin the nonproliferation
treaty, and it calls on the government to return to the so-called six-nation 
talks involving South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States.

[On Sunday, Russia¹s deputy foreign minister, Aleksandr Y. Alekseyev, who 
arrived in Beijing following talks in North Korea, said, ³Several times the 
North Korean side returned to the question that the six-sided process should 
continue, that they have not rejected the six-sided negotiations and that the 
goal of the six-sided negotiations ‹ the full denuclearization of the Korean 
peninsula ‹ remains,² according to the official Russian Information Agency.]

A ban on the shipment of luxury goods in the resolution was particularly 
championed by Mr. Bolton and J. D. Crouch, the deputy national security adviser,
as a way to harm the North¹s leader, Kim Jong-il, administration officials said.
Mr. Kim does not command the kind of loyalty that his father, Kim Il-sung, the 
country¹s father and ³Great Leader,² did until his death in 1994. So instead, 
according to North Korean defectors, he buys allegiance with Mercedes-Benz cars,
bottles of cognac and plenty of walking-around money.

Mr. Bolton alluded to that this week when he said that one intent of the 
resolution was to put Mr. Kim, who presides over a starving country but travels 
on luxurious train cars, on a diet. He said that the resolution left Pyongyang 
³utterly and totally isolated² and that the government should see its only way 
back to international acceptance was ³abandoning weapons of mass destruction and
not continuing to go after them.²

Mr. Bolton said the measure was aimed at illicit activities of Pyongyang like 
³money laundering, counterfeiting and selling of narcotics.² Those words, 
however, were removed to gain Chinese and Russian approval. The final draft also
dropped a broad arms embargo in favor of one just on heavy equipment like battle
tanks, artillery systems, missiles and warships.

Despite the changes, Mr. Bolton said, ³We think this represents essentially what
the United States was asking for when it circulated its draft resolution on 

Asked about the effect of Saturday¹s decision on the debate expected next week 
over sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend its nuclear program, he said, 
³I think this shows quite strongly that the Council is not going to tolerate 
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and Iran should learn from this 

But Mr. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, signaled that an obstacle in the talks 
over North Korea would also arise in the Iran debate, where Russia and China 
have also been reluctant to back direct punishments.

Noting that in the cases of both North Korea and Iran, the United States had 
imposed its own sanctions, he said, ³It is unhealthy that when discussing 
collective measures and trying to be cooperative and forming a unified approach,
one country comes out and adopts unilateral measures which also apply to other 
countries that are participating in the discussion.²

He said, ³We very much hope that our American colleagues understand, in terms of
the problems we have to solve and tackle in the next stage of our work in the 
Security Council.²

David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Washington.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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