This week, and really for the past few weeks, has seen any illusion of diplomatic or domestic opening stripped naked. On human rights, abundant imagery and other documents exist, to verify the existence of abominable activities, that undermine the rhetoric of Pyongyang’s “skeptical” supporters. Curtis Melvin believes he has located a new prison camp in Kaechon county. Meanwhile, in structures of another sort, NK watchers believe they have found the site at Punggye-ri of the imminent third nuclear test of which Pyongyang has warned. Finally, almost as a comic coda to a busy week, Pyongyang threatened to nuke itself.
In response, the United Nations passed UNSCR 2087.
On Thursday, the US placed economic sanctions on two North Korean bank officials and a Hong Kong trading company that it accused of supporting Pyongyang’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The company, Leader (Hong Kong) International Trading, was blacklisted by the United Nations on Wednesday.
Seoul has said it will look at whether there are any further sanctions it can implement alongside the US, but said the focus for now is to follow security council resolutions.
The resolution said the council “deplores the violations” by North Korea of its previous resolutions, which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for those programmes. It does not impose new sanctions on Pyongyang.
The US had wanted to punish North Korea for the rocket launch with a security council resolution that imposed new sanctions against Pyongyang, but China rejected that option. Beijing agreed to UN sanctions against Pyongyang after North Korea’s 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.