Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 1 News List

UN to vote on additional sanctions on North Korea


North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Yong-ho, center, walks through Pyongyang International Airport yesterday, prior to his departure for the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila.

Photo: AFP

A proposed new UN sanctions resolution would significantly increase economic pressure on North Korea to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs by banning mineral and seafood exports worth more than US$1 billion — one-third of its total exports last year, a UN Security Council diplomat said on Friday.

The draft resolution would also ban countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean workers — another source of money for the administration of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It would prohibit all new joint ventures with North Korean companies and ban new foreign investment in existing joint ventures.

Egypt, which holds the Security Council presidency, said a vote on the draft resolution was scheduled for after press time last night.

The proposed new sanctions follow North Korea’s first successful tests on July 3 and July 27 of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of reaching the US.

The council has already imposed six rounds of sanctions that have failed to halt North Korea’s drive to improve its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.

The draft resolution condemns the launches “in the strongest terms” and reiterates previous calls for North Korea to suspend all ballistic missile launches and abandon its nuclear weapons and nuclear program “in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.”

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

The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, called it the “most impactful and expansive set of sanctions to date” and said the resolution was expected to be approved unanimously.

Agreement on the draft to be put to a vote followed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments on Wednesday reassuring North Korea that Washington is not seeking regime change or an accelerated reunification of the Korean Peninsula — comments welcomed by the Chinese minister of foreign affairs.

Tillerson also said the US wants to talk with North Korea, but did not think discussions would be productive if Pyongyang comes with the intention of maintaining its nuclear weapons.

North Korea has repeatedly said it will never give up its nuclear arsenal, which it sees as a guarantee of its security.

The draft resolution reiterates language in previous council resolutions supporting a return to six-party talks with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, expressing the council’s commitment “to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution.”

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