The U.N. Security Council is pushing for what officials have called “the strongest sanctions in the past 20 years” against North Korea, which will be included in the upcoming resolution expected to be adopted this week.
According to government sources, the U.N. resolution is expected to be adopted as early as Monday. It was initially expected to be adopted Saturday, before Russia requested more time to study the resolution interdepartmentally.
The draft resolution on North Korea includes a binding comprehensive arms embargo and freezing assets of any state or ruling party-related organizations involved in banned activities, and also suggests sanctions on all supplies of jet and rocket fuel. All U.N. member states will be mandated to conduct inspections on all shipments passing through their waters to or from North Korea to search for illicit items, and North Korean banks would be blocked from opening branches abroad or hosting offices in U.N. member states‘ financial institutions.
Mineral exports by the North would be banned, except for “livelihood purposes.” China -- whose nod last week gave a boost to talks for sanctions -- said that the sanctions should not affect the livelihoods of North Koreans, as did Russia.
Russia’s TASS news agency, citing the country‘s deputy permanent representative to the U.N. Pyotr Ilyichev, reported that delegations from Moscow will be ready to vote this week. The diplomat also said that Moscow has announced its agreement to an “adequate” resolution in response to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
Some local observers have raised the possibility that Russia may be stalling the talks to reaffirm its global influence, taking issue with the U.S. and China seemingly leading the sanctions against the communist country.
But government sources have said that they expect Russia will ultimately join the sanctions, adding that it will reflect a “resolute will by 15 members of the Security Council to punish the North.”
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power called the sanctions the “strongest imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades,” while South Korean officials have called it the “strongest nonmilitary sanctions ever” by the U.N.
South Korea‘s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Sunday the finance ministers of Seoul and Washington met during the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting in Shanghai, China and agreed to boost bilateral cooperation on sanctions against North Korea.
|Chief six-party talks negotiators Hwang Joon-kook of South Korea (left) and Wu Dawei of China meet for their meeting in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)|
China’s top nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei visited South Korea on Sunday to discuss the countries’ responses to recent actions by North Korea. He met his South Korean counterpart Hwang Joon-kook later in the day, and was to hold a dialogue with Seoul‘s Foreign Minister Yun Byung-seo the next day.
“I believe we (South Korea and China) can discuss any kind of issue upon mutual respect,” Wu said upon entering the country.
Hwang said he thought highly of China’s role during the process of negotiating for the U.N. resolution, and hoped that the two countries would continue “strategic communication” related to North Korea and its nuclear program.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has taken a hard-line approach toward North Korea, which has included a mention of the collapse of Kim Jong-un’s regime, while Beijing has called for holding peace treaty discussions in tandem with the North’s denuclearization talks.
During the visit, Wu is also expected to discuss the possible deployment of the U.S.’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system here against Pyongyang’s threats, which Beijing has openly opposed.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)