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On September 11, the UN Security Council adopted its 8th sanction resolution against North Korea. The resolution came in response to the country’s nuclear test on September 3 in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 (CTBT) banning nuclear explosions regardless of purpose. 

  • The test was the sixth violation by North Korea. Previously, North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and twice in 2016. 
  • Each time North Korea has conducted nuclear tests, the UN Security Council has responded by adopting new sanction resolutions against the country. A total of eight sanction resolutions have been adopted, including two additional resolutions after North Korea's successful satellite launches in 2012 and 2016.
  • Except for North Korea, only India and Pakistan have violated the CTBT; each conducted nuclear tests twice in 1998.

Although the UN has now imposed a variety of sanctions on North Korea, the sanctions primarily restrict the trade of specific products.

  • Exports. The full list of North Korea exports embargo now includes all weapons, copper, nickel, silver, zinc, lead and lead ore, iron and iron ore, coal, seafood, textile, helicopters, and statutes. Excluding weapons and helicopters, for which no data is available, the covered products constitute about 74 percent of North Korea's exports, with coal and textile the major export products. The UN added these products, except weapons, to the embargo list in 2016 and 2017.
  • Imports. Restrictions on imports include weapons, luxury goods, nuclear and missile dual-use technologies, crude oil and all refined petroleum products, and all condensates and natural gas liquids. Petroleum products are the country's primary imported products, accounting for about 6 percent of the country's total imports.

You could say, “they” started, they being the United States and the former Soviet Union, and the world is certainly watching to see how they (and others) will end it now that North Korea increasingly dismisses all overtures for reigning in its military ambitions. In addition to sanctions, the US is seeking to encourage foreign governments, such as Sudan, to limit engagement with and support of Pyongyang.

  • Nuclear testing began in July 1945 when the United States tested its first atomic bomb. The United States detonated 1,032 nuclear explosions from 1945 to 1992; the Soviet Union, 715 during roughly the same time period. A distant third in total detonations is France with 210, followed by China and the UK with 45 detonations each.
  • During the five decades between 1945 and 2006, countries used more than 60 locations to detonate more than 2,000 nuclear devices. For some cases, the testing assists researchers to understand how such weapons act in different conditions and estimate the threat such detonations pose to the public. For others, like North Korea, nuclear testing is more political, a national assertion of military, scientific, and national preeminence. 

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