N Korea rejects United Nations sanctions, warns US

The Early Edition: September 14, 2017
N Korea rejects United Nations sanctions, warns US
Author

13 September, 2017

North Korea warned of retaliation if the UN Security Council approves a United States proposal for harsher sanctions after Pyongyang conducted is sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The Trump administration apparently sees this as a test of the global community's will. NPR's Michele Kelemen is with us now to talk about this.

The sanctions are in response to Pyongyang's ongoing nuclear weapon and missile programmes. The U.S. proposed slashing projects employing North Korean workers overseas, but instead accepted sanctions aimed at gradually scaling them back. The final resolution was the result of "tactical calls" to "get strong results" and get everyone on the Security Council on board, the official added. Meaningful talks with North Korea can start only once a true balance of power has been achieved.

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, building on a series of missile tests over the summer that prompted stern warnings from President Donald Trump and raised fears of a new war.

The reduction in oil sales to North Korea isn't expected to change Kim's calculus.

"This poses a threat to the security of regional countries such as China and Russia", Chinese state media said.

In August President Donald Trump threatened "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea if it continues to threaten the US.

Any sanctions against North Korea must be pursued from a long-term perspective, but that does not mean South Koreans should be exposed to the North's threats in the meantime. Zhu Feng, a professor of worldwide relations at Nanjing University, wrote in Foreign Affairs in July that China should abandon support for North Korea because its nuclear program threatens regional stability.

A senior Japanese official has warned the world faces its "last chance" to rein in North Korea's nuclear program and said it is "very helpful" for countries including Australia to tighten the sanctions noose by targeting firms around the world that help Pyongyang dodge United Nations penalties. It would also ban new contracts for North Korean workers that are sent overseas.

The US is calling for an oil embargo on Pyongyang, an assets freeze on leader Kim Jong-Un, but also an end to textile exports and to payments made to North Korean guest workers.

The ambassador, Kim Hak-Chol, has five days to leave Peru, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

While the United States made concessions to China and Russian Federation to obtain their support, the new bans further isolate the North Korean economy and threaten to precipitate an economic and political crisis in Pyongyang.

DPRK is short for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

United Nations member states will be required not to renew the contracts of an estimated 93,000 North Korean guest workers, whose wages bring in an estimated $500 million a year to North Korea.

North Korea carefully stages propaganda meet-and-greets for Kim in the repressed kingdom.

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

Recent missile and nuclear tests have returned the North Korean nuclear issue to the centre of worldwide attention.

Akiko Fukushima, a defence expert at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, who helped write Japan's 2013 defence white paper, said even though there were "so many ways to cheat and there are countries who are willing to cheat", sanctions were "an important strong message to North Korea".

In one case, a Singapore-registered real-estate management company with no known offices or webpage was "facilitating the laundering of funds for North Korea financial facilitators and sanctioned entities" by working with Russian partners to buy nearly $7 million worth of diesel fuel.


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