U.N. im­poses ex­ports sanctions on North Korea

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY KAREN DEYOUNG karen.deyoung@wash­post.com

The U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously Satur­day to im­pose new sanctions on North Korea, ban­ning ex­ports that sup­ply up to a third of the coun­try’s an­nual $3 bil­lion earn­ings.

The U.S.-spon­sored res­o­lu­tion was in re­sponse to North Korea’s launch of two in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles last month, ac­tiv­i­ties pro­hib­ited un­der ex­ist­ing U.N. res­o­lu­tions.

The sanctions ban North Korea’s largest ex­port, coal, along with ex­ports of iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood. To­gether, those ex­ports amount to more than $1 bil­lion a year in in­come for Py­ongyang.

U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley told the coun­cil that the vote showed Py­ongyang that the world was united in seek­ing to end its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grams. But “we should not fool our­selves into think­ing we have solved the prob­lem,” Ha­ley said. “Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us.”

She said the United States had no plans to de­crease its mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with South Korea, de­spite calls from China and Rus­sia to do so.

Both Beijing and Moscow, in cast­ing their votes for the new sanctions, said they ap­pre­ci­ated state­ments by Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son last week that the United States does not seek North Korea’s col­lapse, re­place­ment of its gov­ern­ment or “ac­cel­er­ated re­uni­fi­ca­tion” of the Korean Penin­sula, and has no in­ten­tion of send­ing troops there.

“Our hope is that the United States will trans­late these ‘four no’s’ into a firm pol­icy,” Liu Jieyi, China’s U.N. am­bas­sador, told the coun­cil. In ad­di­tion to re­duc­ing U.S. mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in the re­gion, he re­peated China’s ob­jec­tion to de­ploy­ment of so­phis­ti­cated U.S. an­timis­sile sys­tems, known as THAAD, in South Korea. “THAAD will not bring a so­lu­tion,” he said. “What it will do is to se­ri­ously un­der­mine the strate­gic bal­ance of the re­gion.”

China also called for the re­sump­tion of talks among North Korea, re­gional pow­ers and the United States. In his Tues­day state­ment, Tiller­son said Wash­ing­ton was in­ter­ested in a “pro­duc­tive di­a­logue” but only on the ba­sis of Py­ongyang’s ac­cep­tance of nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment.

“We don’t think hav­ing a di­a­logue where the North Kore­ans come to the ta­ble as­sum­ing they’re go­ing to main­tain their nu­clear weapons is pro­duc­tive,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Trump has ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment in the fail­ure of China, which ac­counts for 90 per­cent of North Korea’s eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, to ex­ert suf­fi­cient pres­sure on the rogue regime in Py­ongyang. Pas­sage of the new res­o­lu­tion fol­lows nearly a month of U.S.-Chi­nese ne­go­ti­a­tions over the text, bol­stered with ad­min­is­tra­tion warn­ings that it was pre­par­ing to lodge un­re­lated com­plaints against Beijing at the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

It con­demns the long-range mis­sile tests and re­minds North Korea that tests of both the mis­siles and nu­clear weapons are pro­hib­ited by pre­vi­ous res­o­lu­tions.

In ad­di­tion to ban­ning ex­ports, the res­o­lu­tion also pro­hibits all coun­tries from in­creas­ing the num­ber of North Korean la­bor­ers they em­ploy, pro­hibits any new joint ven­tures and com­mer­cial agree­ments with North Korea, and for­bids in­creased in­vest­ment in ex­ist­ing ven­tures. It also adopts new mea­sures to strengthen pre­vi­ous mea­sures and im­prove sanctions en­force­ment.

The goal is to pre­vent North Korea’s ac­cess to hard cur­rency, which Ha­ley and other del­e­gates at the coun­cil ses­sion said are not used for the wel­fare of the North Korean peo­ple. The United States had ini­tially hoped to ban oil ex­ports and additional bank­ing and com­mer­cial penal­ties, which were op­posed by China and Rus­sia.

Al­though U.N. sanctions were first im­posed in 2006 against North Korea, they have not pre­vented tests of five nu­clear war­heads and four long-range mis­sile launches since then, in­clud­ing the two launches in July.

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