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Mandate of North Korea sanctions panel expires


Mandate of North Korea sanctions panel expires

The mandate of the UN panel responsible for monitoring sanctions on North Korea is due to expire today, following Russia’s veto.

The Panel of Experts (PoE) was established in 2009, following North Korea’s second nuclear weapons test, to monitor UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang. The PoE included representatives from the permanent five Security Council members, as well as South Korea and Japan, and was responsible for regular reporting on the implementation and enforcement of sanctions.

On March 28, Russia vetoed the annual extension of the PoE and even questioned the relevance of the sanctions altogether. This comes amidst increasingly close cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang. North Korea has supplied Russia with around 7,000 containers filled with military equipment, ballistic missiles and several million artillery shells that are being used in Russia’s war against Ukraine. In return, Russia supplied North Korea with technology, food and much needed cash. The PoE was in the process of reporting on these sanctions violations, before Moscow ended its mandate.

The end of the PoE does not mean the end of UN sanctions on North Korea, but it does remove the main body for monitoring them. The US, South Korea and Japan have already announced a plan to establish a new panel, which will likely have to be outside the UN, given that China and Russia are unwilling to cooperate. The exclusion of Russia and China from this will likely result in its reports being more openly critical of North Korea than the PoE, but its legitimacy will also be challenged by Moscow and Beijing.

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Moscow will likely continue to be an important growth engine for North Korea’s struggling economy and Pyongyang will continue to be an important weapons supplier to Russia, as North Korean arms factories are reportedly producing at full capacity.

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