UN to vote on tighter N Korea sanc­tions

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United Na­tions is ready­ing tighter sanc­tions on North Korea that would limit its coal ex­ports to China, in re­sponse to Py­ongyang’s fifth and big­gest nu­clear test, US diplo­mats said Mon­day.

The res­o­lu­tion, spear­headed by the United States and ne­go­ti­ated with Bei­jing for three months, should go to a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil vote early Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to diplo­mats who ex­pect it will pass. “This res­o­lu­tion would im­pose a hard, bind­ing cap that will cut the DPRK’s coal ex­ports, which are its largest sin­gle source of ex­ter­nal rev­enues, by more than 60 per­cent,” said a US of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the text, us­ing the for­mal acro­nym for the North.

The tight­en­ing aims to cut $700 mil­lion from Py­ongyang’s coal earn­ings-or a 62 per­cent re­duc­tion from last year. “It would dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the regime’s ac­cess to hard cur­rency used for its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams,” the diplo­mat stressed. “We do not claim that this res­o­lu­tion is go­ing to cause the DPRK to aban­don its nu­clear weapons pro­gram... but this res­o­lu­tion would make it sig­nif­i­cantly more dif­fi­cult.”

And China, North Korea’s lone ally, is also among the few po­ten­tial mar­kets for that coal. The draft text says that the Coun­cil “condemns in the strong­est terms” the North’s Septem­ber 9 test. Py­ongyang claimed at the time it had made ma­jor strides in its ef­forts to fit a minia­tur­ized war­head on a rocket that could reach the United States.

“The mea­sures im­posed by this res­o­lu­tion are not in­tended to have ad­verse hu­man­i­tar­ian con­se­quences for the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion of the DPRK,” the draft text adds.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­port­edly told his in­com­ing suc­ces­sor Don­ald Trump that con­fronting the nu­clear threat from North Korea rep­re­sents the top US na­tional se­cu­rity pri­or­ity. The reclusive regime has car­ried out more than 20 mis­sile tests this year, one of which reached Ja­panese-con­trolled waters af­ter a launch in Au­gust.—AFP

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