United States tables draft resolution in UN to tighten sanctions against N. Korea

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 5, 2017

The Security Council is reportedly close to a new draft resolution ramping up sanctions on North Korea.

The US and China can have a productive relationship if the two countries can work together on the issue of North Korea.

According to anonymous United Nations diplomats, the USA -proposed sanctions would stop countries from increasing the number of North Korean workers they accept and from engaging in new joint ventures with the country.

If implemented by all countries, the ban could deprive Pyongyang of roughly a third of its export earnings estimated at $3 billion per year, according to a diplomat familiar with the negotiations.

Two recent ICBM launches by North Korea prompted a call for action by many United Nations members.

This resolution will not likely turn off North Korea's desire to test its missile capability.

The United States spent weeks following the initial ICBM launch negotiating the text with China, North Korea's neighbor and ally.

The draft resolution is aimed at pressuring North Korea to return to six-party talks with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, diplomats said. The United States was making all-out efforts for slowing down North Korea's arm development programme. While the Pentagon and South Korean military said it was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Russian military said it was only of intermediate range. A new resolution was passed by the 15-member Security Council in June, but it only expanded the council's blacklist of individuals and entities and did not introduce any new measures.

"Even if there is an agreement between the USA and China, it doesn't mean there is an agreement between the P5 members", said Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who met with Liu earlier on Thursday and discussed a possible resolution.

But one diplomat told AP the new resolution includes the "most impactful and expansive set of sanctions to date", and said it is expected to pass unanimously.

On Tuesday, the day before the United States enacted its latest round of sanctions against North Korea, Iran and Russian Federation, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met with Nebenzia, who began his post at the UN the week before.

According to the diplomat, coal has been North Korea's largest export, earning $1.2 billion previous year which was then restricted by the Security Council to a maximum $400 million. The diplomat estimated $251 million in coal exports would be shut off along with $295 million estimated in seafood sales.

That total's over $1 billion. The aim is stop North Korea from obtaining hard currency from siphoning off money that goes to the workers globally.

Under the draft, countries would be unable to hire any new North Korean workers.

The proposed resolution would add North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, the primary foreign exchange bank, to a United Nations sanctions blacklist, which provides for an assets freeze. Some travel bans and asset freezes are also contained, according to the diplomat.

The diplomat called the Foreign Trade Bank "a very critical clearing house for foreign exchange". But she has also acknowledged that Russia's engagement on the draft resolution would be the "true test". It would also tighten trade restrictions on technology to prevent North Korea from acquiring items that could be used for its military programs.

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