UN to vote on new North Korea sanctions today
New York: Ignoring North Korea threats, the UN Security Council will on Thursday impose a fourth round of even tougher sanctions against Pyongyang following its recent nuclear test.
Drafted by the United States and China, the resolution will target North Korea's diplomats, cash transfers and access to luxury goods.
In anticipation of the resolution's adoption, North Korea has threatened to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean War.
The Korean People's Army Supreme Command, citing the US-led push for sanctions, threatened on Tuesday to cancel the armistice agreement on March 11 because of ongoing US-South Korean military drills that began on March 01. Without elaborating, the command also warned of "surgical strikes" meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula and of an indigenous, "precision nuclear striking tool".
Such threats have become increasingly common from North Korea as tensions have escalated following last December's rocket launch and Pyongyang's third nuclear test on February 12, in defiance of three council resolutions that bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology and from importing or exporting material for these programs.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, said the proposed resolution, to be voted on at 10 am EST (1500 GMT), would impose some of the strongest sanctions ever ordered by the United Nations.
The final version of the draft resolution, released on Wednesday, identified three individuals, one corporation and one organisation that would be added to the UN sanctions list if the measure is approved.
The targets include top officials at a company that is the country's primary arms dealer and main exporter of ballistic missile-related equipment and a national organisation responsible for research and development of missiles and probably nuclear weapons.
The proposed resolution would make it significantly harder for North Korea to move around the funds it needs to carry out its illicit programs and strengthen existing sanctions and the inspection of suspect cargo bound to and from the country. It would also ban countries from exporting specific luxury goods to the North including yachts, luxury automobiles, racing cars, and jewellery with semi-precious and precious stones and precious metals.
According to the draft, all countries would now be required to freeze financial transactions or services that could contribute to North Korea's nuclear or missile programs.
The proposed resolution also bans all countries from providing public financial support for trade deals, such as granting export credits, guarantees or insurance, if the assistance could contribute to the North's nuclear or missile programs.
It includes what a senior diplomat called unprecedented new travel sanctions that would require countries to expel agents working for sanctioned North Korean companies.
(With Agency inputs)