International Law Studies


The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 to dissuade the DPRK from continuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Nonetheless, the DPRK has evaded these sanctions, particularly through unlawful ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products and coal. DPRK sanctions evasion, particularly as it relates to maritime activities, remains a critical issue that allows the DRPK government to continue its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its testing and amassment of ballistic missiles. Given the DPRK’s use of maritime tactics to evade sanctions, maritime interdiction is the most effective way to counter illicit DPRK maritime activities. However, the current maritime interdiction authorities under the various U.N. Security Council resolutions are flawed. The international community can better enforce U.N. sanctions at sea if the Security Council authorizes non-consensual boardings of suspect vessels beyond the territorial sea.