Increased Sanctions on Oil Provision

On 22 December 2017, the UN Security Council increased sanctions against DPRK by adopting Resolution 2397 (2017), which, among other things, authorises member states to seize, inspect, freeze and impound any vessel in their territorial waters found to be illicitly providing oil to DPRK.

It has been reported that Russian and Chinese tankers have in recent months supplied fuel to DPRK in contravention of UN prohibitions.

The Russian vessels are said to be operating out of Russian Far Eastern ports.

South Korea has announced that it recently seized a Hong Kong-registered ship, and a Panama-registered vessel , both suspected of supplying oil to DPRK.

The other measures contained in UNSCR 2397 include:

  • A cap on DPRK’s imports of refined petroleum to 500,000 barrels for 12 months starting on 1 January 2018;
  • Limiting DPRk’s imports of crude oil to 4 million barrels for 12 months as of 22 December 2017;
  • Expanding sectoral sanctions to include a ban on DPRK’s export of food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, wood and vessels;
  • A ban on the supply, sale or transfer to DPRK of all industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, iron, steel and other metals (except spare parts to maintain DPRK commercial civilian passenger aircraft currently in use);
  • A requirement for UN Member States to repatriate all DPRK nationals earning income within 24 months from 22 December 2017;
  • Designation of an additional 16 individuals (mainly banking officials), and 1 entity (‘Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces’).

The UN Security Council also stated that additional tests of nuclear weapons or long‑range ballistic missiles would result in further restrictions on its import of petroleum.