U.S. calls Monday vote on new North Korea sanctions

Toshifumi KITAMURA

Toshifumi KITAMURA

The Security Council last month imposed new sanctions over North Korea's two long-range missile launches in July.

Washington wants to put more pressure on the North by imposing an oil embargo and freezing assets of the country's leader, Kim Jong-un.

China has always been accused of lax enforcement of United Nations sanctions on North Korea, and US President Donald Trump complained earlier this year that trade between the two countries surged in the first quarter.

Pyongyang did not mention how it would take revenge on Washington, but Suh Hoon, director for South Korea's National Intelligence Service, might have given some hints last week when he said North Korea seemed to be preparing another missile test, possibly an intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at a normal angle towards the northern Pacific.

Experts believe the isolated regime is close to its goal of developing a powerful nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States, something US President Donald Trump has vowed to prevent.

North Korea has made rapid progress in its nuclear and missile programs despite multiple sets of United Nations sanctions, and Go Myong-Hyun at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies said the latest measures were "not enough to cause pain".

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

Under the latest resolution, those ships could face penalties, but the original language proposed by the United States went much further, empowering countries to interdict ships suspected of carrying weapons material or fuel into North Korea and to use "all necessary measures" - diplomatic code for the deployment of military force - to enforce compliance.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, who backs "robust" new sanctions, said Thursday that the US proposals to ban all oil imports and textile exports and prohibit North Koreans from working overseas - which helps fund and fuel the country's nuclear and missile programs - are "a proportionate response" to its "illegal and reckless behavior".

The resolution, passed after Washington toned down its original proposals to secure backing from China and Russian Federation, came just one month after the council banned the exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Earlier, North Korea said it would not accept any chastisement over its nuclear and missile program, which it says is vital to stave off the threat of an American invasion.

After weeks of rising tension over North Korea's actions, South Korea and the United States have been discussing the deployment of aircraft carriers and strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula.

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DeThomas agreed that it was unwise to break the unity of the Security Council, but he said the USA administration is unlikely to accept "a very watered down approach".

While the United States may begin imposing its own unilateral measures against Pyongyang, an worldwide consensus is growing around the need to diplomatically engage the country and tamp down the growing military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, which remains locked in a technical state of war since the 1953 armistice in the U.S. War on Korea.

"Because of uneven, and sometimes nonexistent, worldwide implementation, North Korea shrugs off the practical impact of many restrictions, and is still exporting prohibited goods such as weapons, minerals, and statues", Billingslea said.

But after the latest nuclear test, Haley took a more public approach, announcing a week ago that she would circulate a draft resolution to all council members and that she meant to call for a vote on September 11. "And, for all the talk, the USA doesn't actually want a war here", Gowan said.

While Russia voted in favour of the sanctions, ambassador Vassily Nebenzia warned that "further restrictions could be tantamount to attempts to suffocate the economy" and hit innocent civilians rather than cutting off funding to Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear programme.

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