In a key step aimed at implementing a June sanctions resolution against
The July 16 decision marked the first time that the council targeted North Korean officials for restrictions. The council blacklisted five individuals, including three officials involved in
The move also sanctioned
Of the five entities sanctioned by the United Nations July 16, the Namchongang Trading Corporation and Hong Kong Electronics were already under U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctions. The department imposed sanctions on the Korea Hyoksin Trading Corporation July 30.
In addition to implementing the financial sanctions, other countries appear to be carrying out the inspections provisions outlined in the resolution. In early August,
Resolution 1874 requires all states to inspect North Korean vessels if the countries have “reasonable grounds” to believe they contain prohibited items, including nuclear- or missile-related goods and conventional arms.
The location of the ship was of particular interest given concerns about North Korean cooperation with
Among other news reports, The Australian reported Aug. 3 that defectors from
Following a meeting with
Former President Bill Clinton made a high-profile visit to Pyongyang Aug. 4 to secure the release of two U.S. journalists detained in North Korea since March and charged with espionage. During his visit, Clinton met with ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency stated Aug. 5 that the visit “will contribute to deepening the understanding between [North Korea] and the U.S. and building the bilateral confidence.”
In another gesture, diplomats from the North Korean mission to the UN met with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) Aug. 19 to discuss U.S.-North Korean issues. Richardson, a former U.S. permanent representative to the UN, traveled three times previously to North Korea to obtain the release of detained Americans and the remains of U.S. soldiers missing in action during the Korean War.
Richardson told MSNBC Aug. 19 that Pyongyang is seeking bilateral meetings with Washington. “They think the six-party talks are not working, and they don’t want to return to that,” he said.
The six-party talks, involving China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, were an effort begun in 2003 to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. North Korea dealt a critical blow to those negotiations, which were held intermittently in succeeding years, in April when Pyongyang declared that it would never return to the talks.
The United States, along with the four other participants in the talks, have maintained that Pyongyang must return to those negotiations in order to work toward nuclear disarmament. Goldberg said Aug. 13, however, that the six-party process “does not exclude…bilateral exchanges as well.”
Victor Cha, National Security Council director for East Asian affairs during the George W. Bush administration, said during an Aug. 19 speech that North Korea’s recent gestures are related to the stiffened sanctions. “One thing I’ve learned in studying the country and working on negotiations is when they feel the pinch of international sanctions, that’s often when they want to come to talks,” he said.