After US compromise, UN Security Council strengthens N. Korea sanctions

Elias Hubbard
September 13, 2017

"If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. if North Korea continues its risky 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.

"Today we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea", she said. The agency estimates North Korea crude imports at about 10,000 barrels a day.

In an emergency meeting of the UNSC last Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said a new resolution including the "strongest possible measures" would be prepared within the week.

A previously circulated version of the U.S. resolution called for a full ban on exports of oil to North Korea and an asset freeze on Kim, the Worker's Party and government of North Korea. "The choice is theirs".

A US-drafted resolution originally calling for an oil embargo on the North, a halt to its key exports of textiles and subjecting leader Kim Jong Un to a financial and travel ban have been weakened, apparently to placate Russian Federation and China which both have veto powers, diplomats said.

Among other concessions the new text also softens the inspection by force of North Korean ships suspected of carrying cargo prohibited by the United Nations and drops a proposed assets freeze on the state-owned Air Koryo airline. The UN Security Council also approved blacklisting senior North Korean officials and three of the country's entities to impose a global travel ban on them and freeze their assets.

David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program, wrote in a blog post back in July that as many as five major USA cities, namely, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Denver were in the range of North Korea's missiles.

Despite the rhetoric, there were signs both sides are looking for a diplomatic solution.

The discourse among conflict analysts and columnists has gone a step further and considered the possibility of a North Korean nuclear missile attack on mainland United States.

"The US is trying to use the DPRK's legitimate self- defensive measures as an excuse to strangle and completely suffocate it", the statement said, using the acronym for North Korea's formal name. It would also cap the import of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels a year starting January 1, 2018. The U.N. resolution caps the amount of crude oil sold to North Korea each year at 4 million barrels.

Textile exports - North Korea's largest economic sector that the Security Council had not previously restricted - earned North Korea an average of United States dollars 760 million in the past three years.

But analysts were skeptical about their impact.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made it clear the US does not want to see regime change in North Korea, but this plan could leave the paranoid country fearing leaders want to take him out.

Russian Federation voted in favour of the sanctions, but ambassador Vassily Nebenzia warned that "further restrictions could be tantamount to attempts to suffocate the economy" and hit innocent civilians rather than cutting off funding to Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear programme.

Its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, rejected the resolution as "illegal and unlawful" and said Washington was "fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation".

The answer rests with one man: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un.

"The forthcoming measures to be taken by the DPRK will cause the U.S. the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history", the ministry said. It said the USA would pay a heavy price if the sanctions proposed by Washington are adopted.

It followed up earlier this month with a sixth nuclear test, which it said was a hydrogen bomb small enough to fit onto a missile.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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