What to know: UN Security Council set to vote Monday on more North Korea sanctions
The United States called for a vote Monday on new UN sanctions against North Korea, though exactly what measures would be in the resolution remained a mystery
North Korea’s September 3 nuclear test was the country’s largest and prompted global outrage. The US is calling for an oil embargo on Pyongyang and assets freeze on leader Kim Jong-un.
What, when and where
■ The UN Security Council is set to vote on Monday afternoon (New York time) on a US-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions on North Korea. Last Tuesday, the US circulated a draft resolution proposing a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to the country and a freeze on all foreign financial assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong-un.
Previous UN sanctions resolutions have been negotiated between the United States and China, and have taken weeks or months. But the Trump administration is demanding a vote in six days.
On Sunday, the United States circulated a revised draft resolution among its Security Council partners, according to diplomats. The new draft, while slightly less tough than the original, includes a “progressive” oil embargo on North Korea, diplomats said.
China and Russia
■ It was not clear whether veto-holding China and Russia would support the vote. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently expressed doubt over whether sanctions are an effective means of getting the North to stop its missile and nuclear testing, and China, harbouring similar concerns, has repeatedly hesitated in the past to fully support US sanction plans.
In China’s eyes, Kim won’t give up his nuclear arsenal even if Beijing shuts off its oil supply, despite the economic pain that could cause. That’s because his weapons programme gives him a deterrent against the US, which North Korea frequently says wants to attack.
China has sought to play a mediating role, backing progressively tougher sanctions like a ban on coal exports while proposing that both sides freeze hostilities and return to talks. Those actions, regularly dismissed as insufficient by Trump’s administration
North Korea’s oil
■ According to a recent study by the Nautilus Institute think tank, a massive cutback in the flow of oil from China would definitely hurt the North Korean economy, and especially average citizens. But the report said the impact would likely be blunted on the military, which probably has enough fuel stockpiled to continue normal operations for the immediate future.
Watch: China tightens border with North Korea
North Korea reaction
■ Since coming to power in late 2011, Kim has detonated four nuclear devices, testfired about 90 missiles including two intercontinental ballistic missiles, executed his uncle and murdered his brother, both of whom were seen as close to China.
North Korea has warned that the United States will pay a “due price” and experience the “greatest pain and suffering” if it pushes for new and tighter UN sanctions.
“The world will witness how the DPRK tames the US gangsters by taking series of action tougher than they have ever envisaged,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg