UN expected to adopt resolutionThe United Nations Security Council is expected to unanimously adopt a resolution early today that would significantly toughen sanctions against North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test and recent long-range missile launch.
The council plans to put the issue to a vote during a meeting scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Tuesday - or 5 a.m. Wednesday local time - Reuters reported, citing the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
The news agency quoted one diplomat as saying that there had been minor changes to the text, though he did not elaborate on the details.
The resolution, which the United States and China had been negotiating since Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6, was originally expected to be voted on by the 15-member council by the end of February in New York. However, it was delayed when Russia, a veto-wielding member of the council, requested more time to review it.
Although a Russian representative to the United Nations told reporters that Moscow needed time to study and analyze the details of the proposals, some analysts wondered if Russia was stalling to demonstrate its clout in the wake of the agreement between Washington and Beijing on tougher sanctions against North Korea.
Moscow has emphasized from the beginning that sanctions should not lead to the economic collapse of the isolated North and not affect civilian ties between Pyongyang and its foreign partners.
The resolution, described by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power as the “strongest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades,” will require for the first time all cargo going in and out of North Korea to be inspected.
It would also expand financial sanctions targeting North Korean banks and assets, and calls for sectoral sanctions that could ban North Korean exports of coal and minerals and its import of aviation fuel.
Still, questions over loopholes in the resolution have been raised - North Korea would be able to buy oil and sell its coal and mineral resources, for example, in the name of “humanitarian purposes.”
When asked what a “humanitarian purpose” might be, a government source said, “It has to be decided later by the Security Council Sanctions Committee.”
China, the North’s ally and main trading partner, has said the new UN sanctions should not affect the normal lives of the North Korean people.
BY KIM SO-HEE, YOO JI-HYE [email@example.com]