US pushes draft plan for further sanctions on North Korea

NEW YORK — The US will submit to the United Nations (UN) Security Council a draft resolution that would expand sanctions against North Korea over its latest nuclear test, a spokesman for the US mission to the UN said.

US ambassador Samantha Power intended to submit for consideration by the security council a draft sanctions resolution in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and subsequent proscribed ballistic missile launch, spokesman Kurtis Cooper said on Thursday.

“We look forward to working with the council on a strong and comprehensive response to the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) latest series of tests aimed at advancing their nuclear weapons programme,” Mr Cooper said.

On Wednesday, council diplomats said the US and China had agreed on a draft resolution and hoped to put it to a vote in the 15-nation council in the coming days.

The two veto powers have been negotiating on the text for the past seven weeks following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test on January 6. “It’s a substantive, long and full draft,” a senior council diplomat said.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said “important progress” had been made on the resolution. “Hopefully, consensus can be reached soon,” she said on Thursday.

“We hope and believe this new resolution can help effectively constrain North Korea from further developing its nuclear missile programme.”

The draft resolution was expected to call for the blacklisting of a number of individuals and entities, diplomats said. They were reluctant to provide further details.

North Korea’s ministry of atomic energy industry and its National Aerospace Development Agency, the body responsible for this month’s rocket launch, would be among the sanctioned entities, South Korea’s Yonhap news reported.

The secretive General Reconnaissance Bureau, already sanctioned by the US for its suspected role in the 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures, had also been included on the blacklist, Yonhap reported.

China and the US have had different views on how strong the response should be to North Korea. Washington has urged harsh punitive measures and Beijing has emphasised dialogue and milder UN steps confined

to nonproliferation.

Western diplomats said that limiting North Korean access to international ports was among the measures Washington was pushing Beijing to accept.

The US also wanted to tighten restrictions on North Korean banks’ access to the international financial system, they said. North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 because of its multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches.

In addition to a UN arms embargo, Pyongyang is banned from importing and exporting nuclear and missile technology, and is not allowed to import luxury goods.

Reuters

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