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UN to vote on North Korea sanctions in ‘coming days’ – US official – SABC News

The UN Security Council will vote in the “coming days” on a US-led push to tighten sanctions on North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches, a US official said on Wednesday, although China and Russia have signaled opposition.

North Korea launched three missiles on Wednesday, including one believed to be its largest intercontinental ballistic missile, after US President Joe Biden ended a trip to Asia.

It was the latest in a string of North Korean missile launches this year.

The United States began a push on sanctions in late March and then circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member body last month.

A resolution needs nine “yes” votes and no veto by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass.

The draft would “further limit North Korea’s ability to advance its illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs, streamline the implementation of sanctions, and further facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need,” the US official said.

The draft text, seen by Reuters, includes extending a ban on launching ballistic missiles to include cruise missiles or “any other delivery system capable of launching nuclear weapons.”

North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006, which the Security Council has steadily – and unanimously – tightened over the years to cut funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The Council last tightened sanctions against Pyongyang in 2017, but since then Beijing and Moscow have been pushing for the measures to be relaxed on humanitarian grounds.

The United States and allies say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is to blame for the humanitarian situation.

CHAIN ​​SMOKER KIM

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Reuters earlier on Wednesday that he would await the final US draft text before commenting, but that he did not believe UN action would be “very conducive” to engagement with North Korea.

Kim is known to be a chain smoker – frequently seen in state media photos with a cigarette in hand – and the draft resolution would ban the export of tobacco and processed tobacco to North Korea.

The draft would cut crude oil exports to North Korea by 1 million barrels to 3 million barrels annually and cut refined oil exports by 125,000 barrels to 375,000 barrels.

It would also ban North Korean exports of “mineral fuels, petroleum oils and products of their distillation.”

The Asian hermit state has successfully circumvented some UN sanctions, according to UN monitors who reported in February that North Korean cyberattacks netted Pyongyang hundreds of millions of dollars.

The draft resolution would impose an asset freeze on the Lazarus hacking group, which the United States says is controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s top intelligence agency.

Lazarus has been accused of involvement in the Wanna Cry ransomware attacks, hacking of international banks and customer accounts, and cyber attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014.

UN to vote on North Korea sanctions in ‘coming days’ – US official – SABC News

Source link UN to vote on North Korea sanctions in ‘coming days’ – US official – SABC News

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