UN arms embargo on North Korea

In June 2006. Security Council Resolution 1718 established a partial embargo on arms exports to and imports from North Korea.  In June 2009 Security Council Resolution 1874 widened the embargo. The embargo is open-ended and applies to exports and training in all major conventional weapons except for small arms and light weapons.

In October 2006, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 1718, adopted unanimously as part of a set of sanctions. The Resolution inter alia prohibits states to directly or indirectly supply, or help to supply, North Korea with major conventional weapons as defined by the UN Register of Conventional Weapons - battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers - as well as ballistic missiles. The Resolution was in reaction to a claimed nuclear test by North Korea in 2006.

The resolution also prohibits the supply of related spare parts along with 'technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of' the listed items. In addition, the resolution prohibits states to procure major conventional weapons and ballistic missiles or materiels and technology related to such weapons from North Korea.

Unlike most UNSC arms embargoes, SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons) and other equipment delivered specifically for military use is not covered by resolution 1718.

In June 2009, Security Council Resolution 1874, also adopted unanimously and in response to a claimed nuclear test, extended the embargo on arms supplies to North Korea to include all arms and related materiel, except for small arms and light weapons. It calls upon States to exercise vigilance over the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK of small arms or light weapons, and obligates States to notify the relevant UN sanctions Committee at least five days prior to selling, supplying or transferring small arms or light weapons to the DPRK.

Resolution 1874 extends the embargo on the procurement of arms from North Korea to all arms and related materials, without exceptions.

The Resolution also called on Member States to inspect and destroy all banned cargo to and from North Korea on the high seas, at seaports and airports if they have reasonable grounds to suspect a violation.

Last updated on 25 October 2012

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