North Korea fired short-range missiles on Thursday just hours after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted the toughest sanctions ever imposed on North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.
The missiles were fired into the East Sea (Sea of Japan) at 10:00am (local time), South Korea’s Defence Ministry Spokesperson Moon Sang-Gyun said.
“The South Korean military is monitoring any additional movements from the North,” Moon added.
UNSC’s 15-member council passed a resolution which imposed the toughest sanctions on Pyongyang. The resolution was drafted by the US and backed by China, North Korea’s only ally.
The sanctions have made it mandatory that all countries will inspect cargo which is headed to or coming from North Korea, in all airports and sea ports.
The resolution also provides for a ban or severe restrictions on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth minerals from North Korea, and prohibits the supply of aviation fuel
including rocket fuel. It is estimated that North Korea earns about USD 1 billion per year in coal exports which is a third of all export revenues.
Severe banking restrictions have also been put in place.
Governments have also been asked to ban flights of any plane suspected of carrying contraband destined for North Korea.
The resolution tightens an arms embargo by banning sales of small arms and bars vessels suspected of carrying illegal goods for North Korea from ports.
“These are among the toughest measures we have agreed against any country in the world, certainly the toughest ever against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft.
Under the measure, UN member states will expel North Korean diplomats engaged in smuggling or other illegal activities.
A total of 16 individuals and 12 entities were added to a UN sanctions blacklist, including North Korea’s NADA space agency and its spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.
Luxury watches, snowmobiles, recreational watercraft such as Sea-Doos and sports equipment cannot be sold to North Korea. This restriction builds on a previous resolution that targeted Pyongyang’s elites.
Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa described the resolution as “ground-breaking” but stressed that sanctions were “not the final objective”.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi said the resolution should “be a new starting point and a stepping stone” for renewed talks on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “this firm response by the Security Council should put an end to the cycle of provocation and lead to the resumption of dialogue.”
(With inputs from PTI)