U.S. calls U.N. meet­ing on N. Korea sanc­tions

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WORLD -

UNITED NA­TIONS — The United States has called an ur­gent meet­ing of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil for Mon­day in re­sponse to what it says are ef­forts by some coun­tries “to un­der­mine and ob­struct” sanc­tions against North Korea.

The U.S. Mis­sion an­nounced Fri­day evening the meet­ing will “dis­cuss the im­ple­men­ta­tion and en­force­ment of U.N. sanc­tions on North Korea.”

The mis­sion didn’t name any coun­tries, but U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley ac­cused Rus­sia on Thurs­day of pres­sur­ing an in­de­pen­dent panel of U.N. ex­perts to al­ter a report on North Korea sanc­tions that in­cluded alleged vi­o­la­tions “im­pli­cat­ing Rus­sian ac­tors.”

Ha­ley said the panel should re­lease the orig­i­nal report, which cited “a mas­sive in­crease in il­licit ship-to-ship trans­fers of petroleum prod­ucts” for North Korea in vi­o­la­tion of U.N. sanc­tions. It said some prod­ucts al­legedly were off-loaded from Rus­sian ships, which were iden­ti­fied in the report.

A sum­mary of the report ob­tained in early Au­gust by The Associated Press also said North Korea has not stopped its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. And it said North Korea is vi­o­lat­ing sanc­tions by trans­fer­ring coal at sea and flout­ing an arms em­bargo and fi­nan­cial sanc­tions.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ini­tially im­posed sanc­tions on North Korea af­ter its first nu­clear test in 2006 and has made them tougher and tougher in re­sponse to fur­ther nu­clear tests and an in­creas­ingly so­phis­ti­cated bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram.

Ha­ley said ear­lier this year that suc­ces­sively tough Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sanc­tions and res­o­lu­tions adopted unan­i­mously had cut off all North Korean ex­ports, 90 per­cent of its trade, and dis­banded its pool of work­ers sent abroad to earn hard cur­rency.

Many diplo­mats and an­a­lysts credit the sanc­tions with help­ing pro­mote the thaw in re­la­tions be­tween North Korea and South Korea as well as the June meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at which they agreed to the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula.

But in July, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo ac­cused North Korea of “il­le­gally smug­gling” in re­fined petroleum prod­ucts be­yond the an­nual quota of 500,000 bar­rels al­lowed un­der U.N. sanc­tions.

U.S. doc­u­ments sent to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil com­mit­tee mon­i­tor­ing sanc­tions against North Korea and ob­tained by AP cited 89 in­stances be­tween Jan. 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely de­liv­ered re­fined prod­ucts “il­lic­itly pro­cured” via trans­fers from other ships at sea.

The U.S. said Rus­sia and China in­formed the sanc­tions com­mit­tee that they were sup­ply­ing re­fined prod­ucts to North Korea. China, which is North Korea’s clos­est ally, is re­spon­si­ble for more than 90 per­cent of the iso­lated coun­try’s trade.

Pom­peo said North Korea also is evad­ing sanc­tions by smug­gling coal by sea and across bor­ders, by us­ing cy­ber thefts and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and by keep­ing work­ers in some coun­tries that he didn’t name.

All th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties are “gen­er­at­ing sig­nif­i­cant rev­enues for the regime and they must be stopped,” he said.

At the time, Ha­ley crit­i­cized “some friends who want to go around the rules,” and es­pe­cially Rus­sia and China for block­ing the sanc­tions com­mit­tee from de­mand­ing that all coun­tries halt ship­ments of petroleum prod­ucts to North Korea im­me­di­ately.

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