Friday, 22 September, 2017

United Nations to vote on watered-down new sanctions against North Korea

Russia in new battle of wills with West over North Korea Russia in new battle of wills with West over North Korea
Saul Franklin | 14 September, 2017, 01:17

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: "these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea".

Speaking on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks she said: "We will never forget that those who have evil intentions must be confronted".

"We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing, we are now trying to stop it from having the ability to do the wrong thing", she added.

The UN Security Council on Monday ratcheted up sanctions yet again against North Korea, but they fell significantly short of the far-reaching penalties that the Trump administration had demanded a few days ago. "The response and actions the Security Council makes should be conducive to the denuclearization of the peninsula, conducive to safeguarding the peace and stability of the peninsula, and conducive to push forward the use of peaceful and political means to resolve the peninsula nuclear issue".

A week ago Haley called for the "strongest possible" sanctions, but after several days of negotiations, Washington dropped several measures to win the support of Russian Federation and China, including a bid for an oil embargo and the blacklisting of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the national airline.

Instead, annual crude oil supplies are capped at current levels - China is believed to supply around four million barrels a year through a pipeline, while deliveries of refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel are limited to two million barrels a year.

China's Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi said that the United States must consider what he called the legitimate concerns of all parties and make it a part of its policy towards the region to not seek regime change in Pyongyang or a collapse of the country or an accelerated pace of reunification of the two Koreas.

Blocking textile exports and cutting off the flow of oil from China would potentially be crippling measures. "Do not succumb to emotions and drive North Korea into a corner", he said after meeting South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who backed an embargo, in Vladivostok.

"The new United Nations sanctions on oil exports to North Korea are relatively moderate in scope compared to the original US proposal regarding oil exports, and would be unlikely to have much impact on the operations of the North Korean military", he said.

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Japan and France are said to be on board with the US furthering sanctions on North Korea.

Many soldiers are used as a labor force to compensate for the ineffective North Korean economy, so the army is not only about military organization. The council also froze the assets of three additional entities: the Central Military Commission, the powerful Organization and Guidance Department that directs key personnel appointments and the Propaganda and Agitation Department, which oversees the North's media and its censorship. Experts agree, the USA cannot stage such an attack because the risk of Chinese intervention is significant, and the North can also inflict severe casualties on South Korean civilians living within range of their artillery.

Haley said these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea.

"It is a tragedy that the US and its lackeys are still pinning hope on sanctions and military option", it said. The US delegation to the UN said in a press release on the evening of September 8 that it had requested that the UN Security Council convene on September 11 to vote on an additional sanctions resolution.

The revised resolution expresses the council's "determination to take further significant measures" in the event of a new nuclear test or ballistic missile launch.

"This is a compromise in order to get everybody on board", French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said of the draft ahead of the vote.

So co-operating with the latest round of strengthened sanctions is China's way of signalling its displeasure with what it sees as Pyongyang's reckless pursuit of nuclear and missile programmes.

China is North Korea's biggest trading partner.

North Korea is threatening war, again, should the United Nations pass the harshest sanctions yet to punish the country for its latest nuclear test.

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