U.N. slaps sanc­tions on de­fi­ant N. Korea

China joins in im­pos­ing $1 bil­lion ex­ports ban

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Edith M. Led­erer and Cather­ine Lucey of The As­so­ci­ated Press; by Kam­biz Foroohar, Mar­garet Talev and An­dreo Calonzo of Bloomberg News; and by Gardiner Har­ris of The New York Times.

UNITED NA­TIONS — The U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved new sanc­tions Sat­ur­day to pun­ish North Korea for its es­ca­lat­ing nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams, im­pos­ing a ban on coal and other ex­ports worth more than $1 bil­lion — a bite in its to­tal ex­ports, val­ued at $3 bil­lion last year.

U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley called the U.N. res­o­lu­tion “the sin­gle largest eco­nomic sanc­tions pack­age ever lev­eled against the North Korean regime” and “the most strin­gent set of sanc­tions on any coun­try in a gen­er­a­tion.”

But she warned that it is not enough, and “we should not fool our­selves into think­ing we have solved the prob­lem — not even close.”

“The threat of an out­law nu­cle­arized North Korean dic­ta­tor­ship re­mains … [and] is rapidly grow­ing more dan­ger­ous,” Ha­ley told coun­cil mem­bers af­ter the vote.

And, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump isn’t rul­ing out a “pre­ven­tive war” to stop North Korea from be­ing able to threaten the U.S. with a nu­clear weapon, said his na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, H.R. McMaster.

“If they had nu­clear weapons that can threaten the

United States, it’s in­tol­er­a­ble from the pres­i­dent’s per­spec­tive,” McMaster told MSNBC. “So, of course, we have to pro­vide all op­tions to do that, and that in­cludes a mil­i­tary op­tion.”

McMaster said Trump has made it clear that he is “not go­ing to tol­er­ate North Korea be­ing able to threaten the United States.” Even so, the U.S. would pre­fer to re­solve the threat “short of what would be a very costly war in terms of the suf­fer­ing of, mainly, the South Korean peo­ple.”

McMaster re­it­er­ated the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s po­si­tion that all op­tions, in­clud­ing a tar­geted mil­i­tary strike, are on the ta­ble.

The U.S.-drafted res­o­lu­tion, ne­go­ti­ated with North Korea’s neigh­bor and ally China, is aimed at in­creas­ing eco­nomic pres­sure on Py­ongyang to re­turn to ne­go­ti­a­tions on its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams — a point stressed by all 15 coun­cil mem­bers in speeches af­ter the vote.

Trump tweeted: “The United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil just voted 15-0 to sanc­tion North Korea. China and Rus­sia voted with us. Very big fi­nan­cial im­pact!”

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has al­ready im­posed six rounds of sanc­tions that have failed to halt North Korea’s drive to im­prove its bal­lis­tic mis­sile and nu­clear weapons ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The res­o­lu­tion’s adop­tion Sat­ur­day fol­lows North Korea’s suc­cess­ful tests July 3 and July 27 of in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles that are ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the United States.

It con­demns the launches “in the strong­est terms” and re­it­er­ates pre­vi­ous calls for North Korea to sus­pend all bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches and aban­don its nu­clear weapons and nu­clear pro­gram “in a com­plete, ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible man­ner.”

The res­o­lu­tion’s cen­ter­piece is a ban on North Korea ex­ports of coal, iron, lead and seafood prod­ucts — and a ban on all coun­tries im­port­ing these prod­ucts from North Korea. The eco­nomic hit is es­ti­mated at worth more than $1 bil­lion in hard cur­rency.

Ac­cord­ing to a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil diplo­mat, coal has been North Korea’s largest ex­port, earn­ing $1.2 bil­lion last year, which was then re­stricted by the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in Novem­ber to a max­i­mum $400 mil­lion. This year, Py­ongyang was es­ti­mated to earn $251 mil­lion from iron and iron ore ex­ports, $113 mil­lion from lead and lead ore ex­ports, and $295 mil­lion from fish and seafood ex­ports, the diplo­mat said.

The res­o­lu­tion also bans coun­tries from giv­ing any ad­di­tional worker per­mits to North Korean la­bor­ers — an­other source of money for Kim Jong Un’s regime. It also pro­hibits all new joint ven­tures with North Korean com­pa­nies and bans new for­eign in­vest­ment in ex­ist­ing ones.

It adds nine North Kore­ans, mainly of­fi­cials or rep­re­sen­ta­tives of com­pa­nies and banks, to the U.N. sanc­tions black­list, ban­ning their travel and freez­ing their as­sets. It also im­poses an as­set freeze on two com­pa­nies and two banks.

The coun­cil diplo­mat, who was not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly and in­sisted on anonymity, called the newly sanc­tioned For­eign Trade Bank “a very crit­i­cal clear­ing­house for for­eign ex­change.”

The Man­su­dae Over­seas Project Group of Com­pa­nies, which was also added to the black­list, is de­scribed in the res­o­lu­tion as en­gaged in ex­port­ing work­ers for con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing of mon­u­ments, in Africa and South­east Asia.

The res­o­lu­tion asks the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil com­mit­tee mon­i­tor­ing sanc­tions against North Korea to ban the im­port of many more so-called dual-use items, which have com­mer­cial pur­poses but can also be used in con­ven­tional, bi­o­log­i­cal, chem­i­cal or nu­clear weapons.

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 who are on the sanc­tions black­list.

The res­o­lu­tion ex­presses re­gret at North Korea’s “mas­sive di­ver­sion of its scarce re­sources to­ward its devel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons and a num­ber of ex­pen­sive bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams” — a point stressed by Ha­ley.

It notes U.N. find­ings that well over half the North Korean pop­u­la­tion lacks suf­fi­cient food and med­i­cal care, while a quar­ter suf­fers from chronic mal­nu­tri­tion.

“These sanc­tions will cut deep, and in do­ing so will give the North Korean lead­er­ship a taste of the de­pri­va­tions they have cho­sen to in­flict on the North Korean peo­ple,” Ha­ley said. “Rev­enues aren’t go­ing to­ward feed­ing its peo­ple. In­stead, the North Korean regime is lit­er­ally starv­ing its peo­ple and en­slav­ing them in mines and fac­to­ries in or­der to fund these il­le­gal mis­sile pro­grams.”

McMaster stressed that it is “im­pos­si­ble to over­state the dan­ger” posed by North Korea.

Though the eco­nomic sanc­tions have teeth, Wash­ing­ton didn’t get ev­ery­thing it wanted in the res­o­lu­tion.

In early July, Ha­ley told the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil that if it was united, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity could cut off ma­jor sources of hard cur­rency to North Korea, re­strict oil to its mil­i­tary and weapons pro­grams, in­crease air and mar­itime re­stric­tions, and hold se­nior of­fi­cials ac­count­able.

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

Its adop­tion fol­lows U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s com­ments Wed­nes­day re­as­sur­ing North Korea that Wash­ing­ton is not seek­ing regime change or an ac­cel­er­ated re­uni­fi­ca­tion of the Korean Penin­sula — com­ments wel­comed by China’s for­eign min­is­ter.

China’s U.N. Am­bas­sador Liu Jieyi said the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment hopes the United States will trans­late these com­mit­ments “into con­crete poli­cies” to­ward North Korea.

Rus­sia’s U.N. Am­bas­sador Vass­ily Neben­zia said Moscow hopes Tiller­son’s as­sur­ances “would be clear that the United States is not seek­ing to dis­man­tle the ex­ist­ing … sit­u­a­tion [in North Korea] or to force to re­unite the coun­try or mil­i­tar­ily in­ter­vene in the coun­try.”

Tiller­son also said the United States wants to talk even­tu­ally with North Korea, but he thinks dis­cus­sions would be un­pro­duc­tive if Py­ongyang en­ters them with the in­ten­tion of main­tain­ing its nu­clear weapons.

North Korea has re­peat­edly said it will never give up its nu­clear ar­se­nal, which it sees as a guar­an­tee of its se­cu­rity.

The res­o­lu­tion re­it­er­ates lan­guage from pre­vi­ous ones sup­port­ing a re­turn to six-party talks with the goal of de­nu­cle­ariz­ing the Korean Penin­sula; ex­press­ing the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s com­mit­ment “to a peace­ful, diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion”; and stress­ing the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in north­east Asia.

Liu said “China has been mak­ing tire­less ef­forts to pro­mote de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula and to up­hold peace and sta­bil­ity,” and will keep work­ing to per­suade other gov­ern­ments to sup­port its sus­pen­sion-for-sus­pen­sion pro­posal.

AP/MARY ALTAFFER

Nikki Ha­ley, the U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, talks with her Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Liu Jieyi, be­fore the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil vote on North Korean sanc­tions. Liu voted for the U.S.-spon­sored mea­sure.

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