UN close to sanc­tions deal to slash N Korea ex­port earn­ings

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s five veto pow­ers are close to ap­prov­ing new sanc­tions on North Korea to cut the iso­lated state’s earn­ings from ex­ports by more than a quar­ter, prin­ci­pally by tar­get­ing its coal ex­ports to China, diplo­mats said on Fri­day.

The US-drafted res­o­lu­tion, in re­sponse to North Korea’s fifth nu­clear test in Septem­ber, would set a UN cap on North Korean coal ex­ports with the aim of cut­ting hard cur­rency rev­enues by at least $700 mil­lion. The res­o­lu­tion would also re­strict North Korea’s mar­itime and fi­nan­cial sec­tors. If suc­cess­ful, it could cut the coun­try’s $3 bil­lion in an­nual ex­port earn­ings by at least $800 mil­lion, UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mats said. The diplo­mats did not want to be iden­ti­fied as dis­cus­sions were still un­der way. The new res­o­lu­tion would also tar­get other North Kore­ans in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties, they said.

Ex­ports of coal from the North would be capped at $400.9 mil­lion or 7.5 mil­lion met­ric tons per year, which­ever is lower, start­ing on Jan. 1, ac­cord­ing to the draft res­o­lu­tion ob­tained by Reuters. As soon as the res­o­lu­tion is adopted, North’s coal ex­ports to the end of this year will be capped at $53.5 mil­lion or 1 mil­lion met­ric tons, which­ever is lower, the draft showed.

Over the first 10 months of the year, China has im­ported 18.6 mil­lion tons of coal from North Korea, up al­most 13 per­cent from a year ago. The re­stric­tions on coal would bar ex­ports con­nected to in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties in­volved in North Korea’s weapons pro­grams, the draft res­o­lu­tion said.

The res­o­lu­tion added 11 in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing peo­ple who have served as am­bas­sadors to Egypt and Myan­mar, and 10 en­ti­ties as tar­gets for travel ban and as­set freeze for their role in the North’s nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams. The res­o­lu­tion would also ban the North’s ex­port of he­li­copters, ves­sels and stat­ues, ban­ning con­tracts sim­i­lar to the ones worth mil­lions of dol­lars that the North had signed to build large stat­ues in some African coun­tries.

It called on UN states to re­duce the num­ber of staff at North Korea’s for­eign mis­sions and limit the num­ber of bank ac­counts to one per North Korean diplo­matic mis­sion and one per diplo­mat at banks in their ter­ri­tory, high­light­ing con­cerns that the North had used its diplo­mats and for­eign mis­sions to en­gage in il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties.

China on board

Diplo­mats said on Wed­nes­day that the United States and China had agreed on new UN sanc­tions to im­pose on North Korea, but Rus­sia was de­lay­ing ac­tion on a draft res­o­lu­tion. A se­nior UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mat who spoke on Wed­nes­day be­lieved China could per­suade Rus­sia to agree to the new sanc­tions and that the 15-mem­ber Se­cu­rity Coun­cil could vote on the draft res­o­lu­tion as early as next week.

The United States and China, a close ally of North Korea, have been ne­go­ti­at­ing a new draft Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion to pun­ish Py­ongyang since North Korea’s fifth and largest nu­clear test on Sept 9. The draft text was re­cently given to the re­main­ing three per­ma­nent coun­cil veto pow­ers Bri­tain, France and Rus­sia.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said this week China sup­ported fur­ther Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ac­tion in re­sponse to North Korea’s nu­clear test, but de­tails of the draft res­o­lu­tion were still be­ing dis­cussed. The aim of the draft res­o­lu­tion is to close loop­holes in sanc­tions im­posed in March, fol­low­ing Py­ongyang’s fourth nu­clear test in Jan­uary. — Reuters

FUKUOKA: Po­lice­men stand guard on a street in Fukuoka yes­ter­day. Po­lice blocked a busy street yes­ter­day as the road, which was hur­riedly re­paired af­ter col­laps­ing into a gi­ant sink­hole ear­lier this month, was found to have sunken again. — AFP

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