Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Security Council votes sanctions on N Korea blunted by Russia, China

Security Council votes sanctions on N Korea blunted by Russia, China

MCEVERS: So how is the Trump administration approaching this differently from past administrations? The Trump administration apparently sees this as a test of the worldwide community's will. NPR's Michele Kelemen is with us now to talk about this.

US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley, who proposed a virtual blockade of North Korea but agreed to the watered-down version after negotiations with China and Russian Federation, after the vote said that over 90 per cent of North Korea's exports were now banned when combined with earlier sanctions on iron ore, metals, seafood and coal exports.

China, North Korea's top trading partner, is not eager to endorse sanctions that could undermine Pyongyang stability and cause millions of refugees to cross its border.

But after saying last week that North Korea is "begging for war", Haley told the Security Council, "North Korea has not yet passed the point of no return". "It's been a long, long time of waiting for China to comply with the sanctions we pass and, frankly, the sanctions the United Nations passes".

Locals in Dandong say North Korea allows the cross-border trips to get a cut of the revenue.

"We wanted those who would be inclined to water down the text to own that position", said the USA official.

However, what remains unsaid, is the extent to which China may be willing to use its considerable economic leverage to punish Pyongyang for its behaviour. Some members of the ruling Democratic Party echoed the call last week, with Rep. Jung Sung-ho saying that an "all-out" change to Seoul's North Korea policy was needed. British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the Reuters news agency on Monday that he believes the current text is mild enough to make it through the Council, and yet strong enough to be effective.

Both Billingslea and Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that the administration is pushing China to act. "China could easily solve this problem!" "That would be a huge step and there are lots of ramifications on that".

Haley said the resolution aimed to hit "North Korea's ability to fuel and fund its weapons program".

30 November 2016: United Nations targeted North Korea's valuable coal trade with China, slashing exports by about 60% under a new sales cap.

United States disarmament ambassador Robert Wood took the floor to say 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 behaviour from this regime".

The media is controlled by the government, and access to the internet is restricted to North Korean propaganda and domestic entertainment sites.

"If North Korea continues its risky path, we will continue with further pressure", she said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a conference earlier that if China did not follow through on the new sanctions, "we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and worldwide dollar system".

It also bans joint ventures with North Korean entities, except for nonprofit public utility infrastructure projects.

The Security Council slapped a ban on textile exports and restricted shipments of oil products to punish Pyongyang for its sixth and largest nuclear test.

KELEMEN: It did seem so to many of us who have been watching this.

North Korea criticized the efforts as "unlawful", and warned that they intend to make the United States pay for spearheading the effort.

The 15-member Security Council is scheduled to vote on the draft at 6PM on Monday (2200GMT). This is some of the strongest items.

Former acting and deputy director of the CIA, Michael Morell, told "CBS This Morning" this past week that the USA faces two choices on North Korea.

A Blue House official who spoke on background told local reporters Sunday that Seoul wasn't considering bringing back US tactical nuclear weapons because doing so would completely undermine its own demand for the North to scrap its nuclear program.

China's Permanent Representative Liu Jieyi said that the United States must consider what he called the legitimate concerns of all parties and make it a part of its policy towards the region to not seek regime change in Pyongyang or a collapse of the country or an accelerated pace of reunification of the two Koreas.

"There should be no doubt about our resolve to defend our allies and our homeland", Thornton said, adding that "we are ready to respond if necessary. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal".

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