Ambassador Rice: Good morning, everyone. Today the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2094, strongly condemning North Korea's highly provocative February 12 nuclear test and imposing significant new sanctions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The strength, breadth, and severity of these sanctions will raise the cost to North Korea of its illicit nuclear program and further constrain its ability to finance and source materials and technology for its ballistic missile, conventional, and nuclear weapons programs.
First, Resolution 2094 imposes tough new financial sanctions. When North Korea tries to move money to pay for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, countries must now block those transfers, even if the money is being carried in suitcases full of bulk cash. Likewise North Korean banks will find it much harder to launder money for the DPRK nuclear program. Today’s resolution also imposes new travel restrictions. If, for example, a North Korean agent is caught making arms deals or selling nuclear technology, countries will be required to expel that agent. Countries must also now prevent the travel of people working for designated companies involved in the nuclear and missile programs.
States will now have new authorities to inspect cargo and stop North Korean arms smuggling and proliferation. If a country has cargo on its territory that might be carrying prohibitive items, like conventional arms or nuclear or ballistic materials, this resolution requires that the cargo be inspected. It will also make it harder for North Korean vessels to offload such prohibited cargo if a ship refuses inspection on the high seas, thus forcing it to return to its port of origin. And airplanes carrying smuggled items can find themselves grounded.
This resolution will also counter North Korean efforts to abuse diplomatic privileges to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile activities. It will now be much harder for such diplomats to procure technology or divert funds to the nuclear program without being detected and expelled. Resolution 2094 further bans the transfer to and from North Korea of specific ballistic missile, nuclear, and chemical weapons-related technology. It lists new prohibited items and calls on states to block any item at all that could contribute to these activities. It names additional North Koreans and North Korean companies whose assets will be frozen, and those individuals will also be subject to a travel ban.
This resolution lists a number of luxury goods that cannot be sold to North Korea. As a result, North Korea's ruling elite—who have been living large while impoverishing their people—will pay a direct price for this nuclear test. A detailed fact sheet outlawing all key measures in UN resolution 2094 can be found on the U.S. Mission’s website: http://usun.state.gov.
Taken together, these sanctions will bite and bite hard. They increase North Korea's isolation and raise the cost to North Korea's leaders of defying the international community. The entire world stands united in our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and in our demand that North Korea comply with its international obligations. If it does not, then the Security Council committed today, in this resolution, to take further significant measures if there is another nuclear test or missile launch. We regret that North Korea has again chosen the path of provocation instead of the path of peace. Far from achieving its stated goal of becoming a strong and prosperous nation, North Korea has instead again opted to further impoverish its people and increase its isolation. We hope instead that North Korea will heed President Obama’s call to choose the path of peace and come into compliance with its international obligations.
I’m happy to take a couple of questions.
Reporter: I understand these measures are very tough, but when there is no penalty for member countries if they don’t comply with the sanctions—there is obligation but no penalty—how would you make sure that it’s going to be implemented?
Ambassador Rice: Well this strengths not only the sanctions itself—this resolution does—but also the enforcement mechanisms that are available to the Council through the sanctions committee and the Panel of Experts. And as in other sanctions resolutions, including Iran, there are opportunities for those that are in violation to be held accountable. And we are of the view of course that every member state is legally obliged to fulfill to the letter the terms of this resolution and the prior resolutions with respect to North Korea and every other binding sanctions regime. And we and our partners having unanimously passed this resolution are committed together to ensuring its effective implementation.
Reporter: This is a very strong resolution, but I’m just wondering if I could ask you whether you really think this resolution can break the repeated pattern of sanction, provocation, sanction provocation? And what do you think is needed to break this pattern, if any, apart from implementation—the right implementation—of this resolution?
Ambassador Rice: The choice and the answer to your question lies of course with the decisions that the North Korean leadership make. We have been very clear as an international community and as a Security Council that we are united in demanding that North Korea comply with its obligations or face increased pressure and isolation. And as you can see with each successive provocation, that pressure is indeed increasing and substantially so. But the aim that we share is the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to accomplish that through dialogue. So should North Korea finally, wisely make the decision in the interest of its own people and the interest of regional peace and security and its own security to in fact heed the opportunity to choose the path of peace and to take concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program—coming into compliance with international obligations—then there is an opportunity for North Korea’s fate and future and that of its people to be much brighter.
Reporter: Ambassador Rice, out of Pyongyang this morning were increased threats, escalated threats that North Korea would make a pre-emptive attack against the United States. Would you comment on that? Are you more worried than you were before?
Ambassador Rice: North Korea will achieve nothing by continued threats and provocations. These will only further isolate the country and its people and undermine international efforts to promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia. We have urged the North Korean leadership repeatedly—and continue to do so—to heed President Obama’s call to choose a path of peace and to come into compliance with its international obligations. That is what North Korea ought to do.
Thank you all very much.
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