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The NORTH KOREA’S GAUNTLET, INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE NEW SANCTIONS IMPOSED BY THE SECURITY COUNCIL

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The Security Council’s reaction to the nuclear tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) in 2016 through Resolutions 2270 and 2321 have significantly changed the picture of UN sanctions regime against this country and created the most comprehensive, legally-binding, sanctions program imposed against a State since Iraq in the 1990s. While raising questions on their lawfulness under international law, the DPRK’s military actions have repeatedly challenged the international community. At the moment of finalising the present article, the situation seems more precarious than ever: despite the severity and comprehensiveness of the sanctions regime, the DPKR’s launches of ballistic missiles hit the headlines again, and its military aggressiveness does not appear reversed. The article examines this regime against the background of the Council’s past practice and the international rules on non-proliferation, also by discussing legal issues related to the different actions by Pyongyang. Ultimately, it seeks to assess the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests vis-à-vis relevant international law and to determine the main limitations of the new set of binding obligations placed upon Member States to thwart the “North Korean threat”. For, in order to succeed, sanctions must be capable of coercing their targets into adjusting the particular course of behaviour that, according to the Security Council, poses a threat to international peace and security, the article concludes that the new sanctions regime is still affected by weaknesses that impair its effectiveness.

10.1163/22116133-90000168
/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000168
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/content/journals/10.1163/22116133-90000168
2017-10-11
2017-10-21

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