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World

U.S. Takes Aim at Countries Doing Business with North Korea

The U.S. resolution faces an uncertain future

United Nation Security Council meet on North Korea, Monday Sept. 4, 2017 at U.N. headuarters, photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews
3 months ago

NEW YORK — The United States said Monday it would target countries doing business with North Korea as U.N. Security Council members called for further sanctions in response to the regime’s powerful nuclear test.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said her country would circulate a resolution this week with the goal of getting it approved next Monday.

“The United States will look at every country that does business with North Korea as a country, that is giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions,” Haley said. “The stakes could not be higher.”

 

Scheduled after North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb underground Sunday, the emergency session also comes six days after the council strongly condemned Pyongyang’s “outrageous” launch of a ballistic missile over Japan. Less than a month ago, the council imposed its stiffest sanctions so far on the reclusive nation.

But the U.S. resolution faces an uncertain future. Russia and China have both proposed a two-pronged approach: North Korea would suspend its nuclear and missile development, and the United States and South Korea would suspend their joint military exercises, which they say are defensive but Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for invasion. The North recently requested a Security Council meeting about the war games.

Washington says there is no comparison between its openly conducted, internationally monitored military drills and North Korea’s weapons programs, which the international community has banned.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after Monday’s meeting that sanctions alone will not solve the issue and there need to be negotiations too.

“Resolutions aimed solely at sanctioning North Korea have not worked well before,” Nebenzia said.

Haley said North Korea’s relentless actions show that its leader, Kim Jong Un, is “begging for war,” and the time has come for the council to adopt the strongest diplomatic measures.

“Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited,” Haley said.

Speaking one after the other, diplomats from France, Britain and Italy and reiterated demands for the Kim regime to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and urged further sanctions.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said France was calling for the adoption of new UN sanctions, swift implementation of existing ones and new separate sanctions by the European Union.

“Pyongyang poses a clear threat to international peace and security and is increasingly and seriously challenging the global nonproliferation regime,” said Sebastiano Cardi, the U.N. ambassador from Italy, which heads the North Korea sanctions compliance committee. He noted that North Korea is the only country to have tested a nuclear device in the 21st century.

The North trumpeted “perfect success” Sunday in its sixth nuclear test blast since 2006.

“We cannot waste any more time. And in order to do that, we need North Korea to feel the pressure, but if they go down this road there will be consequences.” Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho told reporters ahead of the council meeting.

 

The council aimed to take a big bite out of the North Korean economy earlier this month by banning the North from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Together those are worth about a third of the country’s $3 billion in exports last year.

The council could look to sanction other profitable North Korean exports, such as textiles. Another possibility could be tighter limits on North Korean laborers abroad; the recent sanctions barred giving any new permits for such workers. The United States also suggested some other ideas earlier this summer, including air and maritime restrictions and restricting oil to North Korea’s military and weapons programs.

JENNIFER PELTZ
MARIA SANMINIATELLI

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