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US Sets Thurs. Vote on NKorea Sanctions05/26 06:07

   The United States called for a vote Thursday on a U.N. resolution that would 
impose tougher sanctions on North Korea for its recent launches of 
intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States called for a vote Thursday on a 
U.N. resolution that would impose tougher sanctions on North Korea for its 
recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to 
deliver nuclear weapons.

   The U.S. Mission to the United Nations has been working on the draft 
Security Council resolution for several months. But the measure faces 
opposition from North Korea's neighbors China and Russia, which both said at a 
council meeting on May 11 that they wanted to see new talks and not more 
punishment for the North.

   The United States, which holds the council presidency this month, announced 
plans for the vote Wednesday.

   Whether China and Russia will use their veto power to block the measure or 
abstain remains to be seen.

   "We don't think a resolution as proposed by the U.S. can solve any problem," 
China's U.N. Mission said in a statement Wednesday evening.

   China proposed in recent weeks that the U.S. consider a presidential 
statement instead of a resolution, which "was supported by many delegations but 
fell on deaf ears of the U.S.," the statement said. "They know what is the best 
way for de-escalation but simply resist it."

   The announcement of the vote and the U.S. release of the 14-page draft 
resolution came hours after South Korea reported that North Korea test-launched 
a suspected ICBM and two shorter-range missiles. It also followed Tuesday's 
conclusion of U.S. President Joe Biden's Asia trip that included stops in South 
Korea and Japan, where he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to defend both allies 
in the face of the North's nuclear threat.

   Wednesday's launches were the 17th round of missile firings this year by the 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name. Experts 
have said North Korea wants to move ahead with its push to expand its arsenal 
and apply more pressure on its rivals to wrest sanctions relief and other 

   The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea's first nuclear 
test explosion in 2006 and tightened them over the years seeking to rein in its 
nuclear and ballistic missile programs and cut off funding.

   In the last sanctions resolution adopted in December 2017, the council 
committed to further restricting petroleum exports to North Korea if it 
conducted a ballistic missile launch capable of reaching intercontinental 

   U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said May 11 that the North has 
launched at least three ICBMs. But she said that for the last four years, two 
members -- a clear reference to China and Russia -- "have blocked every 
attempt" to enforce the sanctions and update the list of individuals, companies 
and other entities subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

   The resolution to be voted on Thursday would reduce exports of crude oil to 
North Korea from 4 million barrels a year to 3 million barrels, and it would 
reduce exports of refined petroleum products from 500,000 barrels a year to 
375,000 barrels. It would also ban the North from exporting mineral fuels, 
mineral oils and mineral waxes.

   China's U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, expressed regret on May 11 that the 
United States "remains enamored superstitiously of the magic power of 
sanctions," which he said are not an appropriate way to address the situation.

   He said that the direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018 
produced positive results and a de-escalation of tensions on the Korean 
peninsula, but that the United States created the current impasse by not 
reciprocating to what he said were Pyongyang's positive initiatives.

   Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Anna Evstigneeva, echoed Zhang's opposition 
to new sanctions, saying: "Unfortunately, so far the council has only tightened 
restrictions ignoring the positive signals from North Korea."

   In addition to further restrictons on North Korea's oil imports, the draft 
resolution would ban the sale or transfer of all tobacco products to North 
Korea and tighten maritime sanctions. It also would ban the North's export of 
clocks and watches and their parts.

   The resolution would also impose a global asset freeze on Lazarus Group, 
which was created by North Korea. It says Lazarus engages in "cyberespionage, 
data theft, monetary heists and destructive malware operations" against 
government, military, financial, manufacturing, publishing, media and 
entertainment institutions as well as shipping companies and critical 

   The measure would also freeze the global assets of Korea Namgang Trading 
Corporation, which sends North Korean laborers overseas to generate income for 
the government. It would do the same for Haegumgang Trading Corporation, which 
it says has worked with a Mozambique company under a $6 million contract that 
includes surface-to-air missiles, air defense radar and portable air defense 

   The proposed resolution would add one individual to the sanctions blacklist, 
Kim Su Il, who it says is the Vietnam-based representative of the Munitions 
Industry Department responsible for overseeing development of the North's 
ballistic missiles.

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