missile test, world war three, world war III, North Korea

North Korea has been hit with UN sanctions, after its sixth and largest nuclear missile test.

These new sanctions restrict oil imports and ban textile exports – methods aimed at depriving North Korea of fuel and income for its weapons programmes.

The US originally wanted to introduce tougher penalties on the the nation, including a total ban on oil imports.

However, North Korea reportedly said that if the US tried to impose harsher sanctions, then it would “absolutely make sure that the US pays the price”.

The following sanctions will be imposed on North Korea:

  • Limits on imports of crude oil and oil products. China, Pyongyang’s main economic ally, supplies most of North Korea’s crude oil.
  • A ban on exports of textiles, which is Pyongyang’s second-biggest export worth more than $700m (£530m) a year.
  • A ban on new visas for North Korean overseas workers, which the US estimates would eventually cut off $500m of tax revenue per year.

The measures stopped short of imposing an asset freeze and a travel ban on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A South Korean presidential office spokesman said on Tuesday: “North Korea needs to realise that a reckless challenge against international peace will only bring about even stronger sanctions against them.”

The sanctions come after North Korea launched a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile that passed over Hokkaido, the second largest island of Japan on August 29th.

The test came after Donald Trump suggested that his threat to rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea if it endangered the United States was beginning to bear fruit.

After the test, Trump said that “all options are on the table” regarding North Korea.

He said that “the world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear,” adding Pyongyang “has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior.”

History of previous sanctions against North Korea:

  • 30 November 2016: UN targeted North Korea’s valuable coal trade with China, slashing exports by about 60% under a new sales cap. Exports of copper, nickel, silver, zinc and the sale of statues were also banned.
  • What happened after? On 14 May 2017, North Korea tested what it said was a “newly developed ballistic rocket” capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.
  • 2 June 2017: UN imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on four entities and 14 officials, including the head of North Korea’s overseas spying operations.
  • What happened after? On 4 July, North Korea claimed it carried out its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
  • 6 August: UN banned North Korean exports of coal, ore and other raw materials and limited investments in the country, costing Pyongyang an estimated $1bn – about a third of its export economy.
  • What happened next? On 3 September, North Korea said it tested a hydrogen bomb that could be miniaturised and loaded on a long-range missile.

Threat of war?

Of course the latest round of events brought about the usual fear-mongering headlines of ‘World War Three’. Any Google search will bring up hundreds of results from mainstream news papers predicting the end of the world, and almost taking delight in such a possibility.

Although the US said that war is not on the table just yet, it’s previous actions in other countries such as iraq and Afghanistan don’t leave much hope.

Indeed, wars have been started over much less.

What is clear however, is that the thanks to the proliferation of terrorism, and the ramping of rhetoric against North Korea, the increasing tension and instability shows no sign of abating soon.

**Update September 16th***

In response to the latest sanctions, North Korea was reported to have launched a fresh round of missile tests, showing that it can reach Guam, on September 14th. Guam is an unincorporated and organised territory of the United States situated in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean.

The tests drew widespread condemnation and calls for China to rein in its ‘unruly’ neighbour, North Korea.

China responded by stating that the US should stop threatening North Korea.

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