The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Edith M. Led­erer

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

U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley called the 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.

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.

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 fol­lows North Korea’s first suc­cess­ful tests — July 3 and 27 — of in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles 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 cen­ter­piece is a ban on North Korea ex­ports of coal,

iron, lead and seafood prod­ucts — and a ban on all coun­tries im­port­ing these prod­ucts, es­ti­mated to be worth over $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 per­mits to North Korean la­bor­ers — an­other source of money for Kim Jong Un’s regime. And it 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 clear­ing house 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 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 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.”

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

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 thinks dis­cus­sions would not be pro­duc­tive if Py­ongyang comes 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.

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