North Korea sanctions

US gives China draft proposal for tougher UN sanctions on North Korea, source says

Washington wants a tightening of restrictions on Pyongyang’s supply of refined petroleum, among other curbs

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 11:06pm

The United States has given China a draft resolution for tougher United Nations sanctions on North Korea and is hoping for a quick vote on it by the UN Security Council, a Western diplomat said on Tuesday.

A senior official of the administration of US President Donald Trump confirmed efforts were under way to negotiate the new resolution, but said that there had been no agreement.

“We’re trying to get another one,” the official, who did not want to be identified, said. “They’re not there yet.”

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Details of the draft given to China last week were not immediately available, but the US is keen to step up global sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to give up a weapons programme aimed at developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

Among the steps it wants is a tightening of restrictions on North Korea’s supply of refined petroleum, which is capped by previous UN sanctions at 2 million barrels a year.

China, which supplies most of North Korea’s oil, has backed successive rounds of UN sanctions but has resisted past US calls to cut off supplies to its neighbour. Its embassy in Washington and foreign ministry in Beijing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Any move to curb exports of Chinese fuel to North Korea may have limited impact after China National Petroleum Corp suspended diesel and petrol sales to its northern neighbour in June over concerns the state-owned company would not get paid.

Business has slowed steadily since then, with zero shipments of diesel, petrol and other fuel in October. November data will be released on Monday.

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The US has also called on the UN Security Council to blacklist 10 ships for circumventing sanctions on North Korea, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The documents said vessels had been conducting ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or transporting North Korean coal in violation of existing UN sanctions.

Earlier on Tuesday, China responded to the announcement of a new US national security strategy this week that branded Beijing a competitor seeking to challenge US power by saying that cooperation between it and Washington would lead to a win-win outcome for both sides, but confrontation would bring mutual losses.