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U.N. considers new sanctions against N. Korea targeting oil imports

U.N. considers new sanctions against N. Korea targeting oil imports

Posted December. 23, 2017 07:36,   

Updated December. 23, 2017 08:28

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will try to implement additional sanctions to cut imports of 90 percent of refined oil products including diesel and kerosene. Crude oil supply will be limited to the current level of 4 million barrels a year, and the monitoring system will be strengthened.

The UNSC said Thursday that the council will hold a meeting at 1 p.m. on Friday (local time) to discuss nuclear nonproliferation in North Korea. The council is likely to push ahead with a new resolution for its adoption to include additional sanctions on the North. It has been reported that the United States developed a draft resolution and began discussion with China last week. The draft resolution was circulated to 15 member countries of the UNSC on Wednesday.

According to the draft resolution circulated, imports of refined oil products and crude oils to the North will be halved. Yearly crude oil supply to the North will be capped to 4 million barrels. The purpose of these measures is for phased reduction of imports to the North. The draft resolution also stipulates that imports of refined oil products, including diesel and kerosene, will be capped to 500,000 barrels a year, which is only 10 percent of the current imports of 4.5 million barrels, as reported by Reuters and Bloomberg. Also, the new resolution includes strengthening the monitoring system that, besides crude oils to the North via the Dandong-Sinuiju pipeline, any crude oils to the North through sea pipelines by a UN member country require an approval from the council. “Though the supply of the crude oil is not cut off, crude oils will be tackled in whatever ways the council can,” said a source at the United Nations.

The new resolution also includes measures to enforce maritime surveillance of ships travelling to and from the North. Currently, if any information is validated as to illegal cargo, a member country is eligible to conduct a search of a vessel. However, if the new resolution is adopted, a member country will be allowed to seize, search, detain and confiscate a suspicious vessel of carrying illegal cargo in its territorial waters. In addition, under the new resolution, 19 North Korean individuals and the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces will be added to a blacklist.

The UNSC has heightened its pressure on the North this year through three resolutions after the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear provocations. If the council adopts the new resolution on Friday following the North’s launch of the Hwasong-15 ICBM on November 29, this will become the fourth resolution this year and the 10th resolution since 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump has requested his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to raise pressure on the North. At the same time, the United States and China have been discussing the level of the additional sanctions to the North under the table since last week. With all things considered, the UNSC is likely to adopt the new resolution.



Yong Park parky@donga.com