UNSC unanimously imposes watered-down new sanctions on North Korea over nuclear tests

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 12.09.2017 01:19
Updated 12.09.2017 02:18
UNSC unanimously imposes watered-down new sanctions on North Korea over nuclear tests

United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved to impose watered-down new sanctions on North Korea on Tuesday, over the hermit kingdom's sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

With this decision, the top body is imposing a ban on all oil imports and an international asset freeze on the government and leader Kim Jong Un that the Trump administration wanted.

It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member council since 2006 over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The United States watered down an initial tougher draft resolution to win the support of Pyongyang ally China and Russia.

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totaling $752 million, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency. Nearly 80 percent of the textile exports went to China.

The resolution imposes a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products, and a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels. China supplies most of North Korea's crude.

A U.S. official, familiar with the council negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity, said North Korea imports some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and 4 million barrels of crude oil.

The decision also bans all textile exports and prohibits all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers — two key sources of hard currency.

Some 93,000 North Koreans work abroad, providing Kim's regime with a source of revenue to develop its missile and nuclear programs, according to a US official familiar with the negotiations.

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.

An initial draft authorized the use of force to board those vessels, but that was dropped in negotiations over the weekend.

The United States and its allies argue that tougher sanctions will pile pressure on Kim's regime to come to the negotiation table to discuss an end to its nuclear and missile tests.

It was the eighth series of sanctions imposed on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

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