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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Leads Move to Impose New UN Sanctions on North Korea

By Margaret Besheer August 04, 2017

The United States is seeking the quick adoption of a U.N. Security Council draft resolution that would deprive North Korea of $1 billion a year in revenue that helps fuel its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile program.

The move for additional sanctions is in response to Pyongyang's two intercontinental ballistic missile launches on July 3 and 28, which showed that the rogue nation may now have the capacity to bring the U.S. mainland and much of Europe into its cross hairs.

Diplomats say that after weeks of negotiations between the United States and China, the Security Council is moving closer to a vote, as all 15 members have now seen and discussed the U.S.-drafted text.

According to a Security Council diplomat with knowledge of the negotiations, the provisions – if adopted and implemented – would effectively deny Pyongyang of a third of its annual $3 billion in exports. Four export sectors are targeted in the resolution – coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood.

In two council resolutions adopted in March and November of last year, the council imposed export caps on coal, which is North Korea's single largest export.

"In this resolution, there is no cap; there is no allowable coal. All coal exports will stop, will be banned from export from North Korea," the council diplomat said.

Immediate $400M drop

By removing that cap, the diplomat said there would immediately be a decrease of $400 million a year in North Korea's export revenue.

Estimations for 2017 revenue from the export of iron and lead are about $364 million, while the seafood industry was expected to bring in nearly $300 million in export revenue.

The diplomat said the draft resolution would also prohibit countries from accepting additional guest workers from North Korea. Pyongyang is notorious for sending its citizens to other countries to work and then confiscating much or all of their salaries, effectively making them slave labor.

The draft text also tightens the enforcement of existing sanctions. The council has imposed several rounds of increasingly tougher targeted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 for its nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

It is not clear whether a vote could come as early as Saturday or after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets separately on the sidelines of the ASEAN conference Sunday in Manila with both the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers.

The diplomat said consultations are still ongoing with Russia and China, but that there is "high confidence" that the two North Korean allies would be brought on board with the measures in the resolution.

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