Saturday, September 9, 2017

US Requests UN Sanctions Vote on North Korea

The United States formally requested a vote of the U.N. Security Council on Monday of a draft resolution to establish new sanctions against North Korea, according to a statement by the U.S. mission, released late Friday.


“The United States informed the U.N. Security Council that it intends to call a meeting to vote on a draft resolution to establish additional sanctions on North Korea on Monday, September 11,” a statement read.


Draft of sanctions


The draft, obtained by VOA, calls for a ban on the sale of oil, as well as refined petroleum products and natural gas liquids to North Korea.


Pyongyang imports nearly all of its oil and gas from China, and without it, experts say, the economy would quickly be strangled.


The U.S. draft also aims to cut off exports of North Korean textiles, which account for hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.


It also seeks to tighten restrictions on North Korea’s ability to send its citizens to work in foreign countries, where they often are required to send their salaries home to the government.


Russia, China oppose some sanctions


Diplomatic sources told the French news agency AFP on Friday that Russia and China oppose the measure, except for the ban on textiles.


Early Friday, the Philippines announced it had suspended trade relations with North Korea.


Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters the country would “fully comply with UNSC resolution, including the economic sanctions.”


The Philippines is North Korea’s fifth-largest trade partner. From January to June of this year, they exchanged $28.8 million worth of goods in bilateral trade.


Trump warns North Korea


On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that “it will be a very sad day for North Korea” if the United States takes military action against it.


During a news conference with Kuwait’s emir, Trump declined twice to respond to a question about whether it would be acceptable for North Korea to keep its nuclear weapons but be “contained and deterred.”


After the president’s comments, a senior Trump administration official expressed concern that North Korea cannot be deterred.


Speaking to reporters, the official said there is a grave risk North Korea leader Kim Jong Un could miscalculate America’s response to its provocations, warning that Pyongyang should not “underestimate American will to protect ourselves and our allies.”


North Korea claims it detonated a hydrogen bomb Sunday at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site.


“So far, there’s nothing inconsistent with the North Korean claim that this was a hydrogen bomb,” according to a senior U.S. official. “But we don’t have a conclusive view on it yet.”


Sue Gordon, principal deputy director of national intelligence, said at a security summit Thursday, “North Korea is vexing. They are on a path that seems inexorable with capability that is advancing every day with demonstrations that prove that their aspirations are not a pipe dream.”


Trump speaks to allies


Trump, in past days, has made phone calls to key counterparts in Asia and Europe.


China said it would support further U.N. measures against Pyongyang in response to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test.


“Given the new developments on the Korean Peninsula, the U.N. Security Council should respond further and take necessary measures” to deal with the crisis, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday during a news conference in Beijing. But he also stressed that “sanctions and pressure” must go hand in hand with “dialogue and negotiation” with Pyongyang.


China is North Korea’s biggest diplomatic and economic ally, and contends that tighter sanctions against Pyongyang will do little to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in joined forces Thursday in calling for further diplomatic and economic pressure to be placed on Pyongyang.


The two leaders, meeting on the sidelines of an economic summit in the eastern Russian port city of Vladivostok, said they would increase their efforts to persuade China and Russia to back harsh new sanctions on Pyongyang.

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