U.S. President Barack Obama has extended sanctions against North Korea for another year citing Pyongyang’s continuing threat to stability on the Korean Peninsula.
The national emergency in relation to North Korea was declared by the Bush administration in 2008 under the National Emergencies Act. The Obama administration has not only kept extending the emergency, but also imposed tougher sanctions on Pyongyang in April, including a ban on direct and indirect imports of North Korean goods.
“The existence and the risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula, and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea that destabilize the Korean Peninsula and imperil U.S. Armed Forces, allies, and trading partners in the region, continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Obama said in a message to the U.S. Congress on Thursday.
“For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to these threats and maintain in force the measures taken to deal with that national emergency,” he said.
North Korea is banned from conducting nuclear or ballistic missile tests under UN Resolution 1718, adopted after Pyongyang’s first nuclear test on October 9, 2006.
However, the country carried out a second nuclear test on May 25, 2009, followed by a series of short-range missile launches, and has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal to counter what it calls hostile U.S. policies.
The six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan came to a halt in April 2009 when North Korea walked out of negotiations to protest the United Nations’ condemnation of its missile test.