North Korea economy hit by sanctions

Lloyd Doyle
July 21, 2018

USA documents sent to the sanctions committee and obtained by The Associated Press cite 89 instances between January 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products "illicitly procured" via ship-to-ship transfers.

At the U.N. Thursday, the US proposed a halt to all additional oil shipments because of these violations, but China and Russian Federation blocked it, saying they needed more information.

But in what seemed like a warning if talks fell apart, he added, "When sanctions are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization of North Korea are diminished".

At the summit, Trump and Kim agreed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, without describing when and how it would occur.

They informed Dutch Ambassador to the U.N. Karel van Oosterom - who chairs the U.N. committee on North Korea sanctions - that they were requesting information on each of the 89 transfers, essentially delaying the "halt" on the illicit transfers that the USA wants.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said both Pompeo and Kang sought to "confirm the unity and firmness of the Security Council in the full implementation of the sanctions".

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Pompeo said "the scope and scale" of denuclearization "is agreed to" and "the North Koreans understand what that means", though he didn't elaborate and sidestepped a question on what the first step should be.

The council previous year adopted three rafts of sanctions targeting North Korea's economy in response to Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches.

But Russia and China said they needed more time to consider the USA request and to review Washington's allegations of sanctions-busting by North Korea.

"Russia is closely examining this request and is seeking additional information on every single case of "illegal" transfer of petroleum to the DPRK", or North Korea, claimed by the United States, said the Russian mission in an email to council members seen by AFP.

However, Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy told Reuters there was no reason for Haley to reproach Russia. We didn't block anything - we put it on hold.

The United States last week complained to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee that as of May 30, there had been 89 illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products this year by Pyongyang, breaching a U.N. sanctions cap. One diplomat said China quickly supported the "hold, " which automatically delays action on the USA request for six months.

"The problem that we are encountering", Haley said, "is that some of our friends have decided that they want to go around the rules". Haley asked. "They claim they need more information". The sanctions committee has what it needs.

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"They have made a clear commitment on complete denuclearization repeatedly and of course very forcefully at the Singapore summit with President Trump, and we will hold them up to that commitment", the foreign minister said.

The administration has pushed back on those characterizations and said the talks between the two sides continue to move forward, with working groups established.

The sanctions banned North Korea's exports of raw commodities and severely restricted its supplies of oil, which are vital to sustaining the country's military program.

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