U.S. proposes ban on oil shipments to N. Korea, freeze on Kim Jong-Un’s assets

by WorldTribune Staff, September 8, 2017

The United States has circulated a proposal at the United Nations to stop oil shipments to North Korea and freeze the assets of Kim Jong-Un.

The draft resolution, circulated to all 15 members of the UN Security Council, would also ban Pyongyang’s exports of textiles and prohibit employment of its guest workers by other countries, Bloomberg reported on Sept. 6, citing UN diplomats.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. / Reuters

Related: Made in North Korea clothing are labeled ‘Made in China’; Business booming, September 5, 2017

The U.S. has said it wants the Security Council to take up tougher sanctions on North Korea at a meeting on Sept. 11.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for 45 minutes on Sept. 6 amid Pyongyang’s stepped-up pace of nuclear and missile tests.

“We will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea,” Trump told reporters after the conversation. The two leaders had a “very, very frank and very strong call,” Trump added. Asked about possible U.S. military action, the president said “That’s not our first choice, but we’ll see what happens.”

There remain questions over how far the Security Council will go in punishing North Korea, which on Sept. 3 conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

Russia and China, which have veto power in the Security Council, may only agree to a partial or temporary oil exports ban, analysts said.

“The next round of sanctions are about the economic strangulation of North Korea, and Russia and China are going to resist that,” said Patrick Cronin, senior director for Asia-Pacific security issues at the Center for a New American Security in Washington. “But sanctions are only one facet. We have diplomatic options, and military ones like force enhancement and placing strategic forces in the area that will get Beijing and Pyongyang’s attention.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-In, in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said it was time for the UN to seriously consider blocking North Korea’s foreign-currency sources by cutting off crude oil supplies and banning its overseas labor.

“If we fail to stop North Korea’s provocations now, it could sink into an uncontrollable situation,” Moon said in remarks before meeting with Putin.

Putin called for all sides to calm down. “There’s no point in giving into emotions and backing North Korea into a corner,” he said. “More than ever now we need to show restraint and avoid any steps that could escalate tensions.”

“They’ll eat grass, but they won’t abandon their program unless they feel secure,” Putin said.

Tensions are also set to rise between China and South Korea with Seoul moving on Sept. 7 to deploy more THAAD missile-defense launchers.

Four launchers have arrived at Seongju military base, Yonhap reported.

China has angrily opposed South Korea having THAAD, saying it could upset the security balance in the region and be used against Beijing’s own missile systems.

China has been considering closing a customs post along its border with North Korea, according to the Daily NK, a Seoul-based website that says it gathers information from informants inside North Korea. The Quanhe customs house in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, near the Russian border, is the second-biggest of nine posts between China and North Korea.

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