A new resolution from the UN Security Council (UNSC) could cut millions of dollars of revenue from North Korea’s coal exports, Reuters reported over the weekend.
The resolution – which is still in a draft stage – will limit the North’s yearly coal exports to $400.9 million, a huge reduction in the DPRK’s current export totals.
The DPRK sent over 17 million tons of coal to neighboring China last year, earning North Korea nearly $1 billion. So far in 2016, export volumes have been even higher.
“On paper, new coal restrictions have the potential to notably curb a key source of North Korean export revenue. In practice, the significance of this measure will rest overwhelmingly on China’s reporting and transparency,” Andrea Berger, deputy director of proliferation and nuclear policy and senior research fellow at RUSI, told NK News.
The new resolution will also look to curb the North’s coal exports in the remaining months of 2016, limiting shipments to $53 million or 1 million tons, depending on which is lower.
North Korea has, on average, been exporting around 1.8 million tons per month this year, worth over $85 million, indicating the new resolution could have an almost immediate effect on trade revenues.
The exports also appear to have come with caveats, saying any coal shipments must not be associated with the North’s weapons programs, or come from any previously designated entities or individuals.
The draft resolution also adds further individuals to the UN’s blacklist, including former DPRK ambassadors to Egypt and Myanmar.
Further provisions will limit other North Korean exports, including prohibiting member states from buying North Korean made statues. The DPRK has developed a cottage industry building statues in numerous African states, mostly via the Pyongyang-based Mansundae Art Studio.
Mansudae’s work can be seen in Cambodia, Angola, Benin, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, and Togo, according to a BBC news report earlier this year.
Over the weekend, China’s Foreign Ministry published remarks on why Chinese traders had continued to import large volumes of coal from North Korea, despite UN restrictions passed in March.
Beijing has come under fire for the imports – which hit record levels in August – but said it complied with the latest UN resolution.
“Resolution 2270 bans DPRK’s export of coal, iron and iron ore, but also stipulates that export for the sake of people’s livelihood rather than the fund for nuclear and missile programs shall not be affected,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Friday. “China’s import of coal from the DPRK complies with the resolution.”
Featured Image: Coal Tailings in the Northeast of North Korea by Ray Cunningham on 2013-06-17 15:17:19