Monday, 21 August, 2017

UN Security Council Approves Toughest North Korea Sanctions So Far

UN council OKs sanctions measure that could cut $1B from North Korea each year US preparing for 'preventive war' with N. Korea: McMaster
Angelo Anderson | 07 August, 2017, 00:56

UN Security Council on Saturday imposed new sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea over its recent two missile tests, cutting one third of its $3 billion annual export revenues. Today you're going to see the action.

According to ABC News, Haley called the measures "the most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation" and the "single largest economic sanctions package" to ever be leveled against North Korea.

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

The centerpiece is a ban on North Korea exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood products - and a ban on all countries importing these products, estimated to be worth over $1 billion in hard currency.

Coal revenues accounted for around 40% of North Korea's export earnings in 2016, at a value of nearly USD1.2 billion, according to the US Energy Administration.

Agreement on the draft to be put to a vote followed U.S. 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 United States wants to talk eventually with North Korea but thinks discussions would not be productive if the Pyongyang comes with the intention of maintaining its nuclear weapons.

US President Donald Trump commended the United Nations council on passing the sanctions, the White House said late Saturday in a statement.

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Many experts doubt the North has mastered the technology to mount a nuclear weapon on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. But they also recognize the faster than expected pace of development of its nuclear and missile programs.

The sanction also blacklisted nine DPRK individuals operating overseas as representatives of designated entities (asset freeze and travel ban) and four DPRK commercial entities designated for an asset freeze.

While the draft resolution would impose biting economic sanctions, the USA didn't get everything it wanted. In the previous resolutions against Pyongyang adopted a year ago, the council set export caps on coal, the country's main trade item.

"The North Korean threat has not left us". It would also impose an asset freeze on two companies and two banks.

A Security Council diplomat, who was not authorised to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity, called the newly sanctioned Foreign Trade Bank "a very critical clearing house for foreign exchange".

It also gives the committee a green light to designate specific vessels that are breaking sanctions from entering ports all over the world and to work with Interpol to enforce travel bans on North Koreans on the sanctions blacklist. But he also called on the United States and South Korea to 'stop raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, ' in apparent reference to the systematic military means deployment in the region and attempts to block Pyongyang economically and diplomatically.

Russian Federation and China have advocated a freeze-for-freeze approach, whereby the US and South Korea would halt their military exercises and North Korea would do the same.

Neither oil nor new air restrictions are included in the resolution.

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