Five days after the first North Korean nuclear test on 9 October 2006, the UN Security Council adopted UNSCR 1718 (14 October 2006), imposing sanctions on the import and export of conventional weapons and WMD and missile-related goods, as well as the imports of “luxury goods” to DPRK. UNSCR 1718 also authorized the freezing of assets and a prohibition on travel of individuals designated as responsible for DPRK’s policies related to nuclear, ballistic, missile or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs and their family members. The lifting of the sanctions was tied to DPRK’s return to the Six-Party Talks.
There was little evidence of enforcement of the UN sanctions during the episode (no list of targets was identified, no expert group appointed, and the definition of luxury goods was left to national discretion), partly in an effort to induce DPRK back to negotiations.
The Six-Party Talks resumed and resulted in an agreement in February 2007 on a plan to shut down nuclear facilities in exchange for the release of the BDA funds, fuel aid, and steps toward the normalization of relations with the United States and Japan. The Talks continued in March 2007 and, in June 2007, IAEA inspectors arrived in DPRK for first time since 2002. DPRK shut down its plutonium plant at Yongbyon in July 2007, handed over 18,000 pages of documents regarding its nuclear program in May 2008, destroyed the cooling tower at Yongbyon in June 2008, and declared its nuclear facilities. However, a failure to reach an agreement on a verification protocol prompted a downward spiral in negotiations, leading to the breakdown of Six-Party Talks in December 2008.
Coerce DPRK to stop nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, end WMD programs, retract NPT withdrawal, and return to Six-Party Talks.
Constrain DPRK access to military and proliferation technology.
Signal support for non-proliferation norms, specifically the NPT.
No individual targets specified.
UN sanctions can have some non-discriminating impact on the general population, since they include arms embargoes, diplomatic sanctions, and/or restrictions on the conduct of particular activities or the export of specific commodities.
Sanctions Committee created, no sanctions monitoring mechanism in place. Designation criteria were specified but no targets were designated. Enforcement authorities specified.
DPRK returned to negotiations, destroyed a cooling tower, shut down a plant, turned over 18,000 pages of documents, and agreed to denuclearization plan and process to achieve 1718 conditions, but the talks broke down in December 2008 and DPRK subsequently resumed its ballistic, missile, and nuclear programs.
Because sanctions were not rigorously implemented and enforced, it appears that the US unilateral sanctions and desire for US engagement/removal from state sponsors of terrorism list were more significant than UN sanctions in returning DPRK to negotiations.
Little evidence of constraining effect on North Korea, other than luxury goods being stopped from some countries.
UN sanctions were poorly implemented, US unilateral financial sanctions were the most significant.
Non-proliferation norm clearly articulated by unanimous UNSC resolution; unprecedented support from China to sanction North Korea; but unclear degree of stigmatization experienced by DPRK.
Ban on luxury goods aimed at leadership and supporters represented an important signal, but diplomatic pressure and the Six-Party Talks were also important.
Insufficient information available at present.