Draft U.N. resolution would slash N.Korea exports by a third -diplomat

Reuters

(Recasts with draft U.N. resolution)
    By Michelle NicholsUNITED NATIONS, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A U.S.-drafted United
Nations Security Council resolution aims to slash by a third
North Korea's$3 billion annual export revenue by banning the
country's trade of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and
seafood, a council diplomat said on Friday.
    The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there
was a "high confidence" that North Korea ally China and Russia
would support the draft resolution, which was circulated to the
15-Security Council members on Friday.
    The United States is aiming for a vote on Saturday to impose
the stronger sanctions over North Korea's two intercontinental
ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July, though Russia and some
other council members are asking for more time, diplomats said.
    A resolution needs nine votes in favor, and no vetoes by the
United States, China, Russia, France or Britain, to be adopted.
    The draft resolution would also prohibit countries from
increasing the current numbers of North Korean laborers working
abroad, ban new joint ventures with North Korea and any new
investment in current joint ventures, said the diplomat.
    "These are export sectors where this money is viewed as a
critical, critical source of hard currency that the North
immediately turns around into its fantastically expensive war
machine and these just amazingly expensive ballistic missile and
nuclear weapons programs," the diplomat said.
    "These sanctions are not targeted at the people of North
Korea," the diplomat said.
    The United States and China have been negotiating the draft
text for the past month. Typically, they agree sanctions on
North Korea before formally involving other council members.
    U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has been
frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea
and Washington has threatened to impose new sanctions on Chinese
firms doing business with Pyongyang. [nL4N1K53G6]
    China has also been upset by possible moves by the Trump
administration to exert trade pressure on Beijing. [nL1N1KO1XJ]


    HARD CURRENCY
    The United States had been informally keeping Britain and
France in the loop on the bilateral negotiations, while U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said China had been
sharing the draft and negotiating with Russia. [nL1N1KG138]
    It has not been clear if poor relations between Russia and
the United States, which imposed new unilateral sanctions on
Moscow on Wednesday, would hamper negotiations. [nL1N1KO0UW]
    Moscow has disagreed with assessments by Western powers that
Pyongyang launched two long-range missiles, saying they were
mid-range. Diplomats say China and Russia only view a test of a
long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further
possible U.N. sanctions.
    North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over
its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and the Security
Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five
nuclear weapons tests and two long-range missile launches.
    The U.N. diplomat said North Korea has been estimated to
earn in 2017 $400 million from coal, $251 million from iron and
iron ore, $113 million from lead and lead ore and $295 million
from seafood. The diplomat said it was difficult to estimate how
much North Korea was earning from sending workers abroad.
    A United Nations human rights investigator said in 2015 that
North Korea has forced more than 50,000 people to work abroad,
mainly in Russia and China, earning the country between $1.2
billion and $2.3 billion a year for the government.
    "It's been called slave labor ... It's clearly a
humanitarian issue but it's also an increasing source of hard
currency that the North is using for its illicit programs," the
diplomat said.

 (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Toni Reinhold and
James Dalgleish)
 ((michelle.nichols@tr.com; +1 212 355 6053; Reuters Messaging:
Twitter: @michellenichols))

Keywords: NORTHKOREA MISSILES/UN (UPDATE 2)



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