UN Security Council unanimously agrees new North Korea measures

09:18 • 12.09.17



The UN Security Council has unanimously ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea, imposing a ban on the country’s textile exports and a ceiling on the country’s imports of crude oil.


The vote for the sanctions, the ninth package of measures imposed by the UN Security Council on Pyongyang since 2006 for its nuclear and missile tests, came as a relief to US diplomats who had feared a Chinese abstention, which would have considerably blunted the impact of the new sanctions, the Guardian reports.


In late night negotiations on Sunday, the US considerably diluted its initial draft sanctions resolution, which would have imposed a complete oil embargo and a partial naval blockade, in an effort to win support from China and Russia.


The final resolution adopted by the security council on Monday imposed a ban on oil condensates exports to the regime, capped refined petroleum exports at 2m barrels a year – cutting existing export levels by half – and maintaining international exports of crude oil to North Korea at existing levels, about 4m barrels a year. China supplies most of North Korea’s crude.


Western diplomats portrayed the Monday night vote as a win for international unity in the face of North Korean intransigence and provocations, and pointed out that it represented the toughest sanctions regime imposed on the regime to date.


“We are facing not a regional but a global threat, not a virtual but an immediate threat, not a serious but an existential threat,” Francois Delattre, the French envoy to the UN said after the vote. “This threat is what unites us in the security council and, I hope, what will bring us towards unity when it comes to the vote and hopefully beyond.”


The US mission to the UN put out a statement saying the sanctions were the strongest ever imposed on North Korea.


“This resolution reduces about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea,” the statement said. “Combined with the previous Security Council resolutions, over 90% of North Korea’s publicly reported 2016 exports of $2.7bn are now banned (coal, textiles, iron, seafood), which does not include revenues from overseas workers.”


However, few diplomats or observers believed the punitive measures alone would force Kim Jong-un’s regime to stop its nuclear and missile tests. It test-fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles in July and carried out its sixth nuclear test, a powerful blast it said was the detonation of thermonuclear device, on 3 September.


Textiles were North Korea’s second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totaling $752m, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Nearly 80 percent of the textile exports went to China.


Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said: “We are done trying to prod North Korea to do the right thing, we are now acting to stop it doing the wrong thing.”


However, she said the US was not looking for war with North Korea and that Pyongyang had not yet passed the point of no return.”


“If it agrees to stop its nuclear program, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it,” she told the UN security council after the council adopted the new sanctions.


“Today’s resolution would not have happened without the strong relationship that has developed between President Trump and Chinese President Xi,” Haley said.





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