US Proposes UN Ban on Oil to NKorea

US Proposes UN Ban on Oil to NKorea

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States is seeking the toughest-ever U.N. sanctions on North Korea that would ban all oil and natural gas exports to the northeast Asian nation and freeze all foreign financial assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

The U.S.-drafted resolution, circulated to council members Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, would also prohibit North Korea from exporting textiles and ban all countries from hiring and paying workers from the northeast Asian nation — two key sources of foreign currency.

The proposed resolution identifies nine cargo vessels that have carried out activities for North Korea prohibited by previous U.N. sanctions resolutions and would subject them to inspection by government warships, vessels or aircraft.

It would authorize the 192 other U.N. member states to stop these ships on the high seas to inspect their cargo without their consent and to use "all necessary measures" — which in U.N. language includes force — to carry out an inspection and direct the vessel to a port. This would also apply to any other vessels designated by the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said at an emergency council meeting earlier this week after North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test that the Trump administration wants to put the resolution to a vote Monday.

The resolution is likely to face opposition from North Korea's neighbors and allies, China and Russia, who say previous sanctions aren't working.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to back stronger sanctions on the North, including an oil cutoff. But Putin worried that such moves would hurt North Korea's people, said Yoon Young-chan, Moon's chief press secretary.

Russia and China are calling for a resolution that focuses on a political solution and have proposed a suspension-for-suspension that would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the U.S. and South Korea halting their joint military exercises. Putin said earlier Wednesday that "we should not give in to emotions and push Pyongyang into a corner."

The Trump administration has rejected the proposal by China and Russia, saying military exercises are essential in the face of escalating North Korean tests and threats to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile near the U.S. territory of Guam. President Donald Trump has said all options are on the table and told British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday that "now is not the time to talk to North Korea," according to a White House readout.

The proposed resolution would condemn "in the strongest terms" the latest nuclear test, which Pyongyang said was of a hydrogen bomb, calling it a "flagrant" violation of previous council resolutions banning all nuclear tests.

It would order all countries to freeze all funds, other financial assets and economic resources outside North Korea "that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly" by Kim Jong Un, the ruling Worker's Party of Korea, the government, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction.

The draft would freeze the assets of North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo, the Korean People's Army, and five other powerful military and party entities.

It would also freeze the assets and impose a travel ban on Kim Jong Un and four other top party officials, Hwang Pyong So, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Yo Jong, and Pak Yong Sik.

The proposed resolution would add 42 items to a list of equipment, goods and technology that countries are banned from exporting to North Korea.

It would also prohibit North Korea from being part of any joint ventures or cooperative agreements.

The draft calls for a resumption of long-stalled six-party talks between North Korea and the U.S., Russia, China, South Korea and Japan with the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

It reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability in northeast Asia and the council's commitment "to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation," and it welcomes efforts to resolve the situation through dialogue.

The proposed resolution expresses the Security Council's "determination to take further significant measures" in the event of a new nuclear test or ballistic missile launch.