US Sets Thurs. Vote on NKorea Sanctions05/26 06:07
The United States called for a vote Thursday on a U.N. resolution that would
impose tougher sanctions on North Korea for its recent launches of
intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States called for a vote Thursday on a
U.N. resolution that would impose tougher sanctions on North Korea for its
recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to
deliver nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations has been working on the draft
Security Council resolution for several months. But the measure faces
opposition from North Korea's neighbors China and Russia, which both said at a
council meeting on May 11 that they wanted to see new talks and not more
punishment for the North.
The United States, which holds the council presidency this month, announced
plans for the vote Wednesday.
Whether China and Russia will use their veto power to block the measure or
abstain remains to be seen.
"We don't think a resolution as proposed by the U.S. can solve any problem,"
China's U.N. Mission said in a statement Wednesday evening.
China proposed in recent weeks that the U.S. consider a presidential
statement instead of a resolution, which "was supported by many delegations but
fell on deaf ears of the U.S.," the statement said. "They know what is the best
way for de-escalation but simply resist it."
The announcement of the vote and the U.S. release of the 14-page draft
resolution came hours after South Korea reported that North Korea test-launched
a suspected ICBM and two shorter-range missiles. It also followed Tuesday's
conclusion of U.S. President Joe Biden's Asia trip that included stops in South
Korea and Japan, where he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend both allies
in the face of the North's nuclear threat.
Wednesday's launches were the 17th round of missile firings this year by the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name. Experts
have said North Korea wants to move ahead with its push to expand its arsenal
and apply more pressure on its rivals to wrest sanctions relief and other
The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea's first nuclear
test explosion in 2006 and tightened them over the years seeking to rein in its
nuclear and ballistic missile programs and cut off funding.
In the last sanctions resolution adopted in December 2017, the council
committed to further restricting petroleum exports to North Korea if it
conducted a ballistic missile launch capable of reaching intercontinental
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said May 11 that the North has
launched at least three ICBMs. But she said that for the last four years, two
members -- a clear reference to China and Russia -- "have blocked every
attempt" to enforce the sanctions and update the list of individuals, companies
and other entities subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
The resolution to be voted on Thursday would reduce exports of crude oil to
North Korea from 4 million barrels a year to 3 million barrels, and it would
reduce exports of refined petroleum products from 500,000 barrels a year to
375,000 barrels. It would also ban the North from exporting mineral fuels,
mineral oils and mineral waxes.
China's U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, expressed regret on May 11 that the
United States "remains enamored superstitiously of the magic power of
sanctions," which he said are not an appropriate way to address the situation.
He said that the direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018
produced positive results and a de-escalation of tensions on the Korean
peninsula, but that the United States created the current impasse by not
reciprocating to what he said were Pyongyang's positive initiatives.
Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Anna Evstigneeva, echoed Zhang's opposition
to new sanctions, saying: "Unfortunately, so far the council has only tightened
restrictions ignoring the positive signals from North Korea."
In addition to further restrictons on North Korea's oil imports, the draft
resolution would ban the sale or transfer of all tobacco products to North
Korea and tighten maritime sanctions. It also would ban the North's export of
clocks and watches and their parts.
The resolution would also impose a global asset freeze on Lazarus Group,
which was created by North Korea. It says Lazarus engages in "cyberespionage,
data theft, monetary heists and destructive malware operations" against
government, military, financial, manufacturing, publishing, media and
entertainment institutions as well as shipping companies and critical
The measure would also freeze the global assets of Korea Namgang Trading
Corporation, which sends North Korean laborers overseas to generate income for
the government. It would do the same for Haegumgang Trading Corporation, which
it says has worked with a Mozambique company under a $6 million contract that
includes surface-to-air missiles, air defense radar and portable air defense
The proposed resolution would add one individual to the sanctions blacklist,
Kim Su Il, who it says is the Vietnam-based representative of the Munitions
Industry Department responsible for overseeing development of the North's