Friday, 22 September, 2017

Sanctions, talks important for N. Korean nuclear issue: China

International News UN council OKs sanctions measure that could cut $1B from North Korea each year
Sammy Stanley | 07 August, 2017, 00:57

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called newly approved sanctions on North Korea "a gut punch" to that country Saturday and warned of possible military action should the regime continue its aggressions. Today you're going to see the action.

The United States spent weeks following the initial ICBM launch negotiating the text with China, North Korea's neighbor and ally.

China, which holds enormous financial leverage against North Korea, joined the other members of the council in the 15-0 vote.

The sanctions, brought in response to Pyongyang's two most recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests, aim to hit the country's exports and hard currency by stepping up existing restrictions on coal, iron and iron ore exports to a full ban, as well as prohibiting exports of lead, lead ore, and seafood. Other countries will also be barred from increasing the "total number of work authorizations", and banned from creating "new joint ventures" with North Korean businesses or people.

North Korea earns approximately $3 billion per year from its exports.

Resolution 2371 (2017) includes the strongest sanctions ever imposed in response to a ballistic missile test. "It was not a good day for North Korea", she said.

There are three major components in the resolution: further sanctions against the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs; no intention to harm activities that are not prohibited by the resolution, such as economic activities and cooperation, food and economic assistance; a call for the resumption of the six-party talks, commitment to finding a peaceful solution, and the emphasis of the importance of de-escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula by the parties concerned, said Liu.

It adds nine North Koreans, mainly officials or representatives of companies and banks, to the United Nations sanctions blacklist, banning their travel and freezing their assets. In the previous resolutions against Pyongyang adopted past year, the council set export caps on coal, the country's main trade item.

North Korea has already faced a decade's worth of ever-increasing sanctions backed by the US and its allies. It also imposes an asset freeze on two companies and two banks.

President Trump has used different strategies, from charm to Twitter criticism, to urge China to put more pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program.

While the draft resolution would impose biting economic sanctions, the USA didn't get everything it wanted.

He said he hoped comments by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday, that the US is not seeking regime change or to accelerate reunification of North and South Korea or an excuse to send the US military into the region, were honest.

Oil was not included in the draft resolution and neither are new air restrictions.

"China has always insisted on realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and seeking a solution through dialogue and consultation", Liu said.

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