New U.S. sanctions on North after security council resolution fails
“Today Treasury is targeting supporters of the DPRK’s WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and ballistic missile programs, as well as foreign financial institutions that have knowingly provided significant financial services to the DPRK government,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“The United States will continue to implement and enforce existing sanctions while urging the DPRK to return to a diplomatic path and abandon its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”
The move came two days after North Korea launched one ICBM and two shorter-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) on Wednesday. Altogether, they are part of 23 ballistic missiles, including six ICBMS, that the North launched this year, all in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The North Korean individual sanctioned is Jong Young-nam, who was accused of engaging in “various procurement activities on behalf of the DPRK,” according to the Treasury Department. The North Korean company sanctioned was Air Koryo Trading Corporation.
Washington also drafted a UN Security Council resolution to strengthen sanctions on North Korea, but the resolution fell through on Thursday following vetoes by Russia and China.
It was the first time a council’s resolution sanctioning the North for its WMD programs was blocked by a veto since they were first made in 2006.
“For the first time in 15 years, a UN Security Council member has used a veto to stop the council from fulfilling its responsibility to hold the DPRK accountable for its unlawful proliferation and test,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the UN, told the press at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. “The vetoes today are dangerous. Those members today have taken a stance that not only undermines the Security Council's previous action to which they have committed but also undermines our collective security.”
The resolution would have cut exports of crude oil to the North from 4 million barrels a year to 3 million barrels and slashed refined petroleum exports from 500,000 barrels to 375,000 barrels. It would have also banned the sale of all tobacco products.
In a separate statement delivered solely on the behalf of the United States, Thomas-Greenfield said she was “beyond disappointed” with the absence of unity, stressing that the “failure rests on China and Russia alone.”
China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, blamed the U.S. for failing to build on peace talks with North Korea held by the Donald Trump administration, claiming that today’s rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula were “undeniably” caused by the “flip flop of the U.S. policies.”
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said new sanctions on the North would be going down a “dead-end road,” adding that the world must use political and diplomatic tools to resolve the issue.
The foreign ministers of Korea and Japan and their American counterpart released a joint statement on Saturday to "strongly condemn" North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches.
Expressing “deep concern” on the North’s ICBM and SRBM launches on Wednesday, Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken committed to “strengthen trilateral cooperation towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
They added that the three countries remain open to “meeting with the DPRK without preconditions” and urged the North to return to negotiations.
Pyongyang has not returned repeated calls for dialogue from the U.S. or its southern neighbor since its summit with Washington fell through in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2019.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]