UN Security Council mulls N.Korea sanctions

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01 December, 2016

The new resolution stands to cut North Korea's coal revenue by about $700 million.

The diplomats did not want to be identified as discussions were still under way.

Exports of coal from the North would be capped at $400.9 million or 7.5 million metric tonnes per year, whichever is lower, starting on January 1, according to the draft resolution obtained by Reuters.

While North Korean coal exports to China have been in decline since 2013, they actually rose 13% over the same period last year - to 18.6 million tons as of October - following adoption of UNSCR 2270 this year. China's coal imports from North Korea fell to 1.798 million tonnes that month from 2.465 million tonnes in August.

Asked about the details of the new sanctions, Geng said there had been a lot of speculative reports around ahead of the resolution being passed.

The sanctions would also slap a ban on North Korea's exports of non-ferrous metals and sanction 11 government officials as well as 10 entities linked to the country's nuclear weapons program.

A senior North Korean official in September condemned the U.N.'s efforts to redouble sanctions against Pyongyang.

"This resolution would impose a hard, binding cap that will cut the DPRK's coal exports, which are its largest single source of external revenues, by more than 60 percent", said a U.S. official familiar with the text, using the formal acronym for North Korea.

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A senior UN Security Council diplomat who spoke on Wednesday believed China could persuade Russian Federation to agree to the new sanctions and that the 15-member Security Council could vote on the draft resolution as early as next week.

The UN has almost finished drafting a resolution for new sanctions against North Korea in connection with its nuclear program, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday.

The China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have agreed on the new restrictions which largely target coal, Pyongyang's single-largest export item.

The big new move in these sanctions is to have sanctions on North Korea's coal exports. The draft resolution was given to the full 15-member council on Friday.

Through the imposition of financial sanctions in the resolution, North's leader Kim Jong-un would have a hard time getting his hands on hard currency to strengthen Pyongyang's nuclear program.

And China, North Korea's lone ally, is also among the few potential markets for that coal.

USA and foreign diplomats acknowledge that sanctions have failed to stop North Korea's illicit military and nuclear programs, but they say the sanctions have impeded the pace of weapons development.


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