'UN Panel Finds N. Korea Using Loopholes to Avoid UN Sanctions'

Violet Powell
September 10, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said it is too early to talk about a vote at the Security Council on new North Korea sanctions, insisting any pressure should be balanced against restarting talks.

The proposed raft of sanctions would be the toughest-ever imposed on North Korea.

While North Koreans decorated statues with flowers, the U.N. was preparing for a Monday vote on new sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its recent uptick in long-range missile tests and a sixth nuclear test. Mexico also became the latest nation to respond by expelling North Korea's ambassadors.

It was not immediately clear how North Korean ally China and Russian Federation would vote, but a senior United States official on Friday night expressed skepticism that either nation would accept anything more stringent than a ban on imports of North Korean textiles.

President Donald Trump and his administration are pushing for the vote, as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un works toward achieving the capability to strike the USA with nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"They're putting down the marker here and saying, 'OK, Are you prepared to do what is necessary to put pressure on North Korea at a moment when we're simply out of time?"' The draft with the proposed penalties has already circulated the council members on Wednesday. Beijing and Moscow have called for a resolution that focuses on a political solution and have proposed a freeze-for-freeze that would halt North Korean nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the US and South Korea halting their joint military exercises - an initiative rejected by the Trump administration.

This image distributed on Sunday Sept. 3 2017 by the North Korean government shows Kim at an undisclosed location during a test of what it claims was a hydrogen bomb that's ready to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called the nuclear risk in North Korea the most risky crisis in the world today, told reporters Tuesday that "the unity of the Security Council is absolutely crucial".

The U.S. demand for the Security Council to take swift action was viewed as a clear gauge of how seriously the Trump administration views the situation in North Korea.

On Friday night, the US mission to the United Nations announced the move to request a vote on Monday to the Security Council, Politico reported.

"The US intent is so strong on this issue and clearly they are throwing a lot at this", said a Security Council diplomat.

North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial on Saturday that Pyongyang was now a nuclear power and praised Kim for his "brilliant achievement" in strengthening "defences to protect the Korean peninsula from invasion".

The KCNA report sharply criticized U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley for playing "the flagship role" in the Trump administration's "hideous sanctions and pressure racket against the DPRK".

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