Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

North Korea is trying to amass a bitcoin war chest

North Korea is trying to amass a bitcoin war chest

On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to step up sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies capped. At the same time, they don't want Kim provoking the USA into any action that could destabilize the region.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood took the floor to say that the Security Council resolution "frankly sent a very clear and unambiguous message to the regime that the global community is exhausted, is no longer willing to put up provocative behavior from this regime".

Hackers linked to North Korea are ramping up attempts to steal bitcoin in order to bring in money for Kim Jong Un's regime, a top cybersecurity firm says.

"We are done trying to prod the regime to do the right thing", Ms Haley said after the vote, which followed Pyongyang's claim that it had tested a hydrogen bomb on September 3.

If the idea is to ratchet up the pressure incrementally until the point where Mr Kim decides to unilaterally disband his nuclear and missile programmes and call for talks, we could be in for a very long wait, during which time his scientists will be pressing ahead with all urgency to ideal their nuclear capable ICBMs. "If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it", Ms Haley added.

"We must stop its march towards a nuclear arsenal with the ability to deliver it anywhere in the world", she said of North Korea.

Security Council diplomats, who weren't authorized to speak publicly because talks have been private, said the US and China were still negotiating the text late Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Trump to visit China during their meeting in April in Palm Beach, Florida.

While the content was notably softened from the full-scale embargo initially demanded by the United States, it is to be the first UNSC resolution with sanctions affecting North Korea's oil imports if passed.

For China, this turn of events has heightened the urgency of addressing the North Korea nuclear issue.

The textile ban is significant.

Under the measure, countries are authorised to inspect ships suspected of carrying banned North Korean cargo but must first seek the consent of the flag-state.

Almost 80 percent of the textile exports went to China.

A United States official, familiar with the council negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity, said North Korea imports some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and four million barrels of crude oil. The U.S. should look to engage diplomatically to find a level of security that North Korea and its neighbors will be happy with, he said.

North Korea will be feeling the pain of new United Nations sanctions targeting some of its biggest remaining foreign revenue streams.

If Washington does "rig up the illegal and unlawful "resolution" on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that the United States pays due price", its foreign ministry said, in a statement published by the official KCNA news agency.

The United States says the shield, more than a decade in the planning, is needed to protect against so-called rogue states, a term USA officials have used to refer to North Korea and Iran.

The weakening of the sanctions reflects the longstanding rift between sanctions hawk Washington, and China and Russian Federation, which advocate direct talks and more efforts to find a resolution through negotiations.

The comments came as North Korea faced renewed criticism at the Geneva-based body of its recent ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests.

Both Beijing and Moscow had strong words for Washington. Russia's envoy said Washington's unwillingness to have U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres try to resolve the dispute "gives rise to very serious questions in our minds".

South Korea signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968.

"The textile sanctions actually might have more impact, as they are probably a good source of value-added income - value added by people you don't have to pay much - for the regime", he said.

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