Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US allies in Asia welcome UN sanctions on N Korea

Reuters, UNITED NATIONS and SEOUL

Major US allies in Asia yesterday welcomed the UN Security Council’s unanimous vote to step up sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies to the reclusive North capped after its sixth nuclear test.

Japan and South Korea said after the passage of the US-drafted Security Council resolution that they were prepared to apply more pressure if Pyongyang refused to end its aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

Monday’s decision was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

A tougher initial US draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang’s main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold veto power in the council.

“We don’t take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today. We are not looking for war,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the council after the vote. “The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return.”

“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future ... if North Korea continues its dangerous path, we will continue with further pressure,” said Haley, who credited a “strong relationship” between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for the successful negotiations.

UN member states are now required to halt imports of textiles from North Korea, its second-largest export after coal and other minerals last year that totaled US$752 million and accounted for a quarter of its income from trade, South Korean data showed.

Nearly 80 percent went to China.

“This resolution also puts an end to the regime making money from the 93,000 North Korean citizens it sends overseas to work and heavily taxes,” Haley said.

“This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional [US]$500 million or more in annual revenues,” she said.

The South Korean Blue House yesterday said the only way for Pyongyang to end diplomatic isolation and become free of economic pressure was to end its nuclear program and resume dialogue.

“North Korea needs to realize that a reckless challenge against international peace will only bring about even stronger international sanctions against it,” the Blue House said.

However, China’s official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary that the Trump administration was making a mistake by rejecting diplomatic engagement with the North.

“The US needs to switch from isolation to communication in order to end an ‘endless loop’ on the Korean Peninsula where nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests,” Xinhua said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe quickly welcomed the resolution and said after the vote it was important to change North Korea’s policy by imposing a higher level of pressure.

The resolution imposes a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products, and a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels. China supplies most of North Korea’s crude.

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