Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

UN Security Council steps up sanctions on North Korea

UN Security Council steps up sanctions on North Korea

With backing from China and Russian Federation, the council adopted a US-drafted sanctions resolution just one month after banning exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The US put forward another draft resolution Monday that made considerable changes to a previous version of the proposal. The report notes that Germany is one of few with diplomatic ties to North Korea's capital Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a US-drafted resolution that imposes strongest sanctions ever on North Korea, with measures targeting its last remaining major exports and reducing about 30 percent of oil provided to it.

The proposal included a ban on oil and textile exports to North Korea and prohibited North Korean citizens from working overseas.

The much stronger version proposed by the USA last week, included the first asset freeze directed at Kim Jong-un, a complete ban on oil sales to his regime, and a mandate for warships from any member state to inspect ships suspected of carrying contraband to or from North Korea, and to enforce inspect using "all necessary measures".

North Korea warned of retaliation if the United Nations approves the US proposal for harsher sanctions.

North Korea has been public about its most recent nuclear test, but has been less transparent about the scope of its nuclear facilities.

"If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future. if North Korea continues its unsafe path, we will continue with further pressure", said Haley, who credited a "strong relationship" between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping for the successful resolution negotiations. Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, told the Security Council on Monday that Moscow supported the resolution because "leaving nuclear tests without a firm reaction would be wrong".

Haley said the resolution never would have happened without the "strong relationship" between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the mainland United States.

The official defended the USA mission from critics who say the sanctions were watered down, arguing an early draft from the US was given to the press to place pressure on any who might seek to soften the sanctions.

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The US and its allies have been calling for stern measures against North Korea since the September 3 nuclear test.

Aside from Baranov's ferry, and the occasional Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang, the only other link between the two countries is an irregular train which runs from Pyongyang to the town of Khasan, 76 miles (120 km) south of Vladivostok on the Tumen River near the border with North Korea.

The spokesman said that the latest UNSC resolution will inflict "great pain" on the North Korean regime by squeezing the money flow to its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs. Haley has dismissed it as insulting.

In another key measure, the USA draft identified nine ships that have carried out activities prohibited by previous United Nations sanctions resolutions.

MCEVERS: Though she calls the resolution the toughest to date, the sanctions are not as stringent as the Trump administration had initially proposed.

"This includes removing the THAAD military defence system, stopping military exercises, involving the USA and South Korea, stopping talk of regime change, and starting fresh talks".

Pyongyang has staged a series of missile tests in recent months, culminating in an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared to bring much of the USA mainland into range - ramping up tensions and earning itself a seventh set of UN Security Council sanctions.

The US originally wanted to impose an oil embargo against North Korea.

China is North Korea's main ally and by far its biggest trading partner, including for oil shipments.

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