01282020What's Hot:

North Korea Could Lose $1 Billion in Exports Under U.N. Measure

It was circulated after American diplomats held extensive discussions about the language with China and Russia, suggesting that the two will back the measure or at least not block it with their veto power.

Support for the draft resolution from China, North Korea’s most important trading partner, is considered critical. If achieved, it will partly reflect what diplomats have called China’s waning tolerance for Mr. Kim’s belligerent behavior.

The draft resolution, which needs at least nine yes votes for approval, would be the most punitive of any resolution over the past 11 years aimed at pressuring North Korea into abandoning its nuclear arms ambitions.

A Security Council diplomat told reporters that the draft resolution’s provisions banning North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood would together lop roughly $ 1 billion from the country’s $ 3 billion in annual export revenue.

The diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in keeping with protocol, said it was the first time that entire sectors of North Korea’s export economy would be banned. He called it “the most impactful and expansive set of sanctions to date.”

The draft resolution, which “condemns in the strongest terms” the July 4 and July 28 missile tests, would also place new limits on North Korea’s joint ventures and Foreign Trade Bank, and prohibit the country from sending more workers to overseas jobs — another important source of revenue for the impoverished nation of 25 million people.

Nonetheless, the draft resolution did not go nearly as far as what the American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, had demanded after the July 4 ballistic missile test.

Declaring American exasperation with the ineffectiveness of existing sanctions, Ms. Haley called for cutoffs of North Korea’s access to foreign money and oil for its military. Those steps were not taken.

Whether the resolution’s penalties would have much effect on North Korea’s actions is a matter of debate. Despite the country’s longstanding economic isolation, it has repeatedly defied Western-led efforts to change its behavior through sanctions.

“I don’t think this is something that will bring North Korea to its knees,” said Jae H. Ku, the director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

“This might be the gradual wringing of the neck of North Korea, but we’ve been down this road many times,” he said. “North Korea has always been able to find loopholes.”

The United States put forward the resolution three days after Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson offered to open negotiations with the North Koreans by assuring “the security they seek” as well as new economic opportunities — if the North abandoned its nuclear weapons.

Mr. Tillerson’s outreach was the Trump administration’s first serious attempt at a diplomatic opening to North Korea. His remarks were welcomed by China, which has repeatedly called for calm among all antagonists in the long-running Korean Peninsula crisis.

But the United States has sent a mixed message, diplomacy coupled with a display of military strength. It tested its own intercontinental ballistic missile in the South Pacific on Wednesday, within hours of Mr. Tillerson’s remarks. And last weekend, the United States flew two strategic bombers across the Korean Peninsula in a military exercise with South Korea, its ally.

Mr. Kim has thus far shown no intention of relinquishing his nuclear arsenal. If anything, he has vowed to strengthen it.

American intelligence assessments have generally concluded that the North Korean leader has no incentive to negotiate with the United States until his country emphatically shows that it could arm a missile with a nuclear weapon that could reach the American mainland.

Source: NYT > World

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