Resolution 2375 (2017), adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on September 11, 2017, strengthens UN sanctions on North Korea in response to the North Korea nuclear test conducted on September 2, 2017. As such, this resolution sends a very clear message to North Korea that the Security Council is united in condemning North Korea’s violations and demanding North Korea give up its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Resolution 2375 (2017) includes the strongest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea. These measures target North Korea’s last remaining major exports by fully banning the export of textiles (nearly $800 million each year) and preventing overseas workers from earning wages that finance the North Korean regime (over $500 million each year), reduces about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea, and fully bans all joint ventures with North Korea to cut off foreign investments, technology transfers, and other economic cooperation with North Korea. The resolution also includes strong maritime provisions enabling countries to counter North Korean smuggling activities of prohibited exports by sea.
Resolution 2375 (2017) includes the following key elements:
- This resolution reduces about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea.
- It will achieve this through imposing an annual cap of 2 million barrels per year of all refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, heavy fuel oil, etc.)
- North Korea currently receives a total of about 8.5 million barrels of oil/petroleum: 4.5 million in refined form and 4 million in crude form.
- The resolution freezes the current amount of crude oil provided to North Korea by banning countries from providing additional crude oil beyond what China provides through the Dandong-Sinuiju pipeline.
- The resolution also bans the supply to North Korea of all natural gas and condensates — this will prevent North Korea from obtaining substitutes for refined petroleum products.
- The resolution bans all North Korean textile exports.
- Textile exports – North Korea’s largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted – earned North Korea an average of $760 million in the past three years.
- Combined with the previous Security Council resolutions, over 90% of North Korea’s publicly reported 2016 exports of $2.7 billion are now banned (coal, textiles, iron, seafood), which does not include revenues from overseas workers.
- This provision we adopt today will eventually deny the regime another half billion dollars each year it takes from the nearly 100,000 North Korean citizens working around the world to earn wages.
- In order to minimize business disruptions to existing contracts and work authorizations involving North Korean overseas workers, this provision allows existing authorizations to reach their original expiration dates but does not authorize any renewals.
- The resolution provides member states new tools to stop high seas smuggling of prohibited products (e.g., conventional arms, coal, textiles, seafood, etc.). North Korea has been smuggling coal and iron ore to other countries using very sophisticated evasion techniques by sea.
- If flag states refuse to allow inspections of suspicious vessels, then the flag state is required to redirect the vessels to a port for inspection.
- If a flag state or vessel does not cooperate with inspections, then the vessel can be designated for an asset freeze, denied port access, de-registered, and suffer other penalties.
- The resolution requires the end of all joint ventures with North Korea. This will not only starve the regime of any revenues generated through such arrangements, it will now stop all future foreign investments and technology transfers to help North Korea’s nascent and weak commercial industries.
- However, to protect civilian needs of the North Korean people and continue facilitating international commerce involving the North Korean port of Rajin, the China-DPRK hydroelectric power stations on the Yalu River and the Russia-DPRK Khasan-Rajin rail and port project to transshipment of Russian coal to other markets are exempted.
- The resolution imposes asset freezes on the most important North Korean regime organs: Organizational Guidance Department, Central Military Commission, and Propaganda and Agitation Department that run the DPRK government, military, and keep its people down.
- The resolution facilitates the listing of additional dual-use items and technology that could be used for WMD or conventional arms-related purposes that will be banned for transfer to and from North Korea.
- The resolution also facilitates a process to identify vessels caught smuggling prohibited North Korean goods to other countries.