N Korea sanc­tions de­bated at UN

China and Rus­sia want warm­ing ties to be recog­nised

Viet Nam News - - NATIONAL -

UNITED NA­TIONS — China and Rus­sia have called for an eas­ing of sanc­tions against North Korea, re­ject­ing a US push at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil for vig­or­ous en­force­ment de­spite warm­ing ties.

Led by the United States, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil adopted three sanc­tions res­o­lu­tions last year aimed at de­priv­ing North Korea of rev­enue for its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grammes.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi on Thurs­day told a coun­cil meet­ing that the “pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments” in re­la­tions be­tween North and South Korea — com­bined with warmer US-North Korean ties — should lead to sanc­tions re­lief.

Wang said the coun­cil should con­sider “in due course” a pro­vi­sion to “mod­ify the sanc­tions mea­sures in light of the DPRK’s com­pli­ance.”

Rus­sia backed China’s call to con­sider a sanc­tions re­view.

Declar­ing that sanc­tions should not be­come a form of “col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment,” Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov ar­gued that it was time to send a pos­i­tive sig­nal to Py­ongyang to en­cour­age con­ces­sions.

“Steps by the DPRK to­ward grad­ual dis­ar­ma­ment should be fol­lowed by an eas­ing of sanc­tions,” said Lavrov.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo opened the meet­ing, held dur­ing the an­nual UN Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion, by de­mand­ing strict en­force­ment of sanc­tions.

Pom­peo — who will pay his fourth visit to Py­ongyang next month – voiced hope for the “dawn of a new day” with Py­ongyang, but cred­ited sanc­tions with bring­ing North Korea to the ta­ble and said there should be no let-up in pres­sure.

“En­force­ment of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions must con­tinue vig­or­ously and with­out fail un­til we re­alise fi­nal, fully ver­i­fied de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion,” Pom­peo said.

“The mem­bers of this Coun­cil must set the ex­am­ple on that ef­fort, and we must all hold each other ac­count­able.”

Pom­peo said sanc­tions have been re­peat­edly vi­o­lated — in­clud­ing, this year al­ready, its an­nual cap of im­port­ing 500,000 bar­rels of oil.

The United States has de­tected in­ter­ship trans­fers of re­fined pe­tro­leum, which are also banned, and has ac­cused North Korea of il­le­gally ex­port­ing coal to fund its weapons pro­gramme.

China, which has fast-de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tions with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yet has largely wel­comed his out­reach to North Korea, stressed the need for diplo­macy.

“China firmly be­lieves that pres­sure is not the end,” Wang said. “Both im­ple­ment­ing sanc­tions and pro­mot­ing po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment are equally im­por­tant.”

Lavrov said it was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­timely” for the United States and its part­ners to “im­pose a course of tight­en­ing sanc­tions” when North Korea has “taken im­por­tant steps” to­ward de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

“It seems it would be log­i­cal to strengthen this mo­men­tum,” said Lavrov.

North Korean rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tended the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ses­sion, but they did not ask to ad­dress the meet­ing.

Sec­ond Trump-Kim sum­mit?

On Wed­nes­day, Pom­peo met his North Korean coun­ter­part, For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho, and called the talks “very pos­i­tive.”

Trump has heaped praise on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and boasted that his diplo­macy has pre­vented war.

But many an­a­lysts doubt that North Korea has shifted more than rhetor­i­cally af­ter al­ready re­fin­ing its ar­se­nal through six nu­clear tests since 2006 and re­peated rocket launches.

The United States is also hear­ing calls for step-by-step sanc­tions re­lief from ally South Korea, whose left-lean­ing Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in helped ar­range Trump’s diplo­matic drive.

That view is not shared by Ja­pan, which is call­ing for the com­plete and ver­i­fied dis­arm­ing of North Korea as a con­di­tion for lift­ing any sanc­tions.

Trump met Kim in June in the first-ever sum­mit be­tween the two coun­tries that never signed a peace treaty.

Trump is seek­ing a sec­ond sum­mit in the near fu­ture, which Pom­peo will seek to ar­range while in Py­ongyang.

Pom­peo said that North Korea would en­joy a “much brighter fu­ture” if Kim ful­fils prom­ises to the United States to give up its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gramme.

“But the path to peace and a brighter fu­ture is only through diplo­macy and de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion,” Pom­peo said. — AFP

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