British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said on Wednesday the UN Security Council could target North Korean guest workers sending money home from Russia and China.
This is in a bid to sharpen sanctions against Pyongyang.
In spite of seven sets of UN sanctions since 2006 in a bid to deter Pyongyang from its nuclear ambitions, North Korea’s tests are becoming more frequent and more brazen.
The latest launch saw a missile fly over the Japanese island of Hokkaido and land in the Pacific Ocean.
The most severe sanctions so far against North Korea, imposed only weeks ago, introduced a complete ban on coal and iron exports and blocked international sales of North Korean lead ore and seafood.
Also imposed are travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and companies.
The sanctions package was expected to put a huge dent in North Korea’s economy by cutting its annual earnings by one-third.
The package would “cut deep” and “give the North Korean leadership a taste of the deprivation they have chosen to inflict on the North Korean people,” U.S. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said of the sanctions.
Less than a month after that resolution, however, Kim Jong Un’s regime launched four missiles in a week – three into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, and the fourth over Hokkaido a few days later.
Britain is now keen to squeeze Pyongyang harder “given that the constraints that we have put in place, so far, have clearly not yet got them to change course,” Rycroft, said.
The latest resolution imposed a cap on foreign labourers, but new sanctions could go further to stop Pyongyang from obtaining hard currency from overseas workers.
The council should consider “whether we could do more to prevent the flow of money coming into DPRK from North Korean nationals, who are working abroad,” Rycroft added.
More than 50,000 North Koreans are working abroad, bringing between 1.2 billion and 2.3 billion dollars annually into the reclusive nation, according to UN estimates.
The majority of those working abroad are in Russia and China, according to a report compiled by UN human rights officials.
At a Security Council meeting on the latest launch, ambassadors for both countries argued that sanctions alone would not ease tensions.
China’s UN Ambassador, Liu Jieyi, also urged countries to refrain from imposing their own unilateral sanctions, days after the U.S. and Japan placed new sanctions on entities and individuals that support North Korea, in countries including China and Russia.