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US urges UN to cut Korean oil imports, ban tobacco, blacklist Lazarus hackers – SABC News

The United States is urging the UN Security Council to further sanction North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches by banning tobacco and halving oil exports to the country and blacklisting the hacking group Lazarus, according to a draft resolution released on Wednesday verified by Reuters.

The United States circulated the draft to the 15 Council members this week.

It was not immediately clear if or when this could be voted on.

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

Russia and China have already signaled opposition to tightening sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s launch of an ICBM last month — the first since 2017.

US special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim told reporters last week that the United States had discussed the draft UN text with China and Russia, but “unfortunately I cannot report that we have had productive talks with them so far.”

US and South Korean officials and analysts also said there were mounting signs North Korea could soon test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017.

The US-drafted UN resolution would extend the ban on launching ballistic missiles to include cruise missiles or “any other delivery system capable of launching nuclear weapons.”

It would halve crude oil exports to North Korea to 2 million barrels a year and refined oil exports to 250,000 barrels a year.

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

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

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

LAZURUS HACKER

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 Kim is responsible for the humanitarian situation, accusing him of diverting money to nuclear weapons and missile programs instead of spending it on the North Korean people.

The Asian hermit state has successfully circumvented some UN sanctions and advanced its programs, according to independent UN sanctions monitors, who reported in February that North Korean cyberattacks on cryptocurrency exchanges netted Pyongyang hundreds of millions of dollars.

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

The Lazarus Group 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.

The draft resolution would also ban anyone from “procuring or facilitating information and communications technology-related services” from North Korea.

Asked about the US move last week, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said: “We don’t think additional sanctions will help to ease tensions, they may even make the situation worse.”

US urges UN to cut Korean oil imports, ban tobacco, blacklist Lazarus hackers – SABC News

Source link US urges UN to cut Korean oil imports, ban tobacco, blacklist Lazarus hackers – SABC News

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