Diplomat: UN to ban $1 billion in North Korea exports
United Nations — 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 over $1 billion — a third of its total exports last year, a Security Council diplomat said Friday.
The draft resolution, obtained by The Associated Press, would also ban countries from giving any additional permits to North Korean laborers — another source of money for Kim Jong Un’s regime. And 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 has been scheduled at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
The proposed new sanctions follow North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States on July 3 and July 27. The Security 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 is expected to be approved unanimously.
Agreement on the draft to be put to a vote followed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments Wednesday reassuring North Korea that Washington isn’t seeking regime change or an accelerated reunification of the Korean Peninsula — comments welcomed by China’s foreign minister.
Tillerson also said the US wants to talk eventually with North Korea but doesn’t think discussions would be productive if the North 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 Security Council resolutions supporting a return to six-party talks with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, expressing the Security Council’s commitment “to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation,” and reiterating the importance of maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia.
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