By Victor Cha —
- The UN Security Council adopted UNSCR 2270 on March 2 by a unanimous vote [15-0].
- The resolution comes nearly two months after the January 6 nuclear test and presents a broader set of heightened sanctions against the North – previously the average number of days between a North Korean provocation and UNSCR during the Obama administration was 27 days.
- Key provisions that indicate the broadened scope of sanctions includes sectoral sanctions (banning the sale of coal, iron, gold, and rare earth minerals), the sanctioning of aviation fuel, and a doubling of the designated entities and individuals.
- The blanket inspection of all cargo from North Korea is important and potentially removes the need for relevant authorities to go through the cumbersome task of presenting intelligence each and every time as a prerequisite for third country-requests to inspect proliferation-prone cargo.
- U.S.-China cooperation on the resolution is commendable but going forward, all focus will be on whether and for how long China enforces these measures, as many will have a definitive impact on bilateral economic interaction with Pyongyang.
- North Korea is likely to respond to UNSCR 2270 — the response could range from another WMD event to cyber actions.
Dr. Victor Cha is senior adviser and Korea Chair at CSIS. He is also a professor of government at Georgetown University.