UN Security Council to decide on new North Korea sanctions

The new proposed resolution targets oil exports and expatriate workers sent to make money for the regime of Kim Jong Un. The US-authored draft was reportedly negotiated on with China ahead of the vote.

Barbed wire in front of a North Korean flag (Getty Images/C. Chu)

The United Nations Security Council scheduled a vote for Friday over a new raft of sanctions on North Korea. The US-drafted proposal drastically caps oil exports to the isolated country in a bid to economically cripple Pyongyang into abandoning its missile program.

Watch video01:31

Rex Tillerson: China and Russia’s North Korea ties undermine peace efforts

The measures in the draft circulated to the Council’s 15 member states also included the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad within the next year, according to Reuters news agency. Experts believe that tens of thousands of North Koreans are forced to carry out manual labor in foreign countries to make money for the regime of Kim Jong Un.

Read more: Where did North Korea get its missile technology?

The resolution also seeks to ban about 90 percent of refined petroleum products to North Korea, capping exports to Pyongyang at 500,000 barrels a year.

Washington has long been calling on Beijing to stop oil exports to Pyongyang, with China always stopping short of imposing what the US deems truly painful sanctions.

The proposed sanctions follow North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of November. The North Korean government said the missile was capable of hitting any part of the United States. It was the 20th time the North launched a ballistic missile this year.

Although it remained unclear how China would vote on the resolution, UN diplomats told reporters that China and the United States had negotiated the language of the draft last week.

If the sanctions pass, it would be the 10th such resolution against North Korea over its weapons program in the past 11 years. The last sanctions resolution was adopted in September after North Korea’s sixth and strongest nuclear test.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un proclaimed in a speech that “nobody can deny” that his country “poses a substantial nuclear threat to the US.”

es/sms (AP, Reuters)

COURTESY: DW

New sanctions: ‘US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’

New sanctions: 'US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’
The latest US sanctions against Russia’s energy sector are absolutely a political matter, says journalist and political writer Dan Glazebrook. The US establishment went berserk about Russia disrupting its plans in Ukraine and Syria, he added.

The US government has stepped up sanctions on Russia’s energy sector over Moscow’s alleged interference in Ukraine. The latest measures, unveiled on Tuesday by the US Treasury, put extra restrictions on firms working with Russian oil companies. They focus specifically on deep water, Arctic, and shale projects.

The measures come at the same time as separate restrictions against Russia focus on social media. A US government department recently sent a letter to tech giants, warning of Russian meddling. The letter refers to alleged Russian support for US activists, campaigning against the North Dakota Pipeline.

Fitch: Nothing revolutionary about new US sanctions against Russia https://on.rt.com/8r5y 

‘Nothing revolutionary’ about new US sanctions against Russia – Fitch — RT Business News

Fitch Ratings sees nothing revolutionary in new sanctions against Moscow with Russian oil and gas companies able to keep on drilling abroad

rt.com

RT:  So Russia is being accused of helping environmental activists in the US, meddling in American politics, and also interfering in Ukraine. What do you make of all these allegations?

Dan Glazebrook: It’s interesting. My response to allegations the Russian government is supporting Native American land rights, anti-fracking campaigns is – if that is true, so what? More than so good for them. I think the majority of US citizens would probably agree. But nothing is proven so far.

It’s like so many things that are absolutely standard practice for Western countries – like giving military aid to their allies or using their state TV channels as a form of soft power, which British ministers boast regularly about with the BBC World Service. But the minute Russia starts doing these things the West starts screaming blue murder. And it’s the same here; if this is the case they call it similar to this idea of astroturfing, it is supposedly kind of fake grassroots like there is kind of a big organization, company, or government putting stuff out, that is purporting to be the grassroots, or whatever. But this is absolutely standard practice in the corporate world and the geopolitical world in the West, and has been for some time. If indeed the Russian government is belatedly catching on to these standard Western practices, and in doing so helping to find publicity for Native American land rights or environmental campaigns, I certainly don’t have a problem with that.

New US sanctions serve no purpose and complicate intl relations – Deputy FM https://on.rt.com/8r59 

US sanctions lead Moscow-Washington relations into dead end – snr Russian diplomat — RT Russian…

Russia’s deputy foreign minister says the new US sanctions were no surprise for Moscow. Sergey Ryabkov emphasized that any attempts to force Russia into changing its policies were doomed to failure…

rt.com

RT:  If we go back to the sanctions against Russia’s energy sector, which is a key part of the country’s economy, is this economic matter, or is it a political matter?

DG: It is absolutely political. Especially since the Syrian government victory in Aleppo at the end of last year, the neocon and liberal interventionist establishment have gone absolutely berserk about Russia. They were already berserk to a certain extent over foiling their plans in Ukraine and the Russian involvement in Syria, but with the Syrian government victory in Aleppo that really spelled the end, the utter defeat of the regime change policy of the West in Syria. And they have gone berserk, and they have not and will not forgive Russia for that. This all is emanating from that. This is punishment for Russia for refusing to allow the West to just continue with this regime juggernaut through Syria and on to Iran. That is what we’re seeing – all this clampdown over ‘Russian involvement’ in social media, sanctions in the oil industry…

US announced new  banning Americans from Arctic energy projects with  https://on.rt.com/8r47 

New US sanctions to bar Americans from Arctic offshore oil projects with Russia — RT World News

The US has announced new sanctions against Russian, banning Americans from Russian energy projects on deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale oil.

rt.com

RT: European countries, specifically Germany, have repeatedly voiced concerns about anti-Russia sanctions, which could harm their interests. Why are those warnings being ignored by Washington?

DG: There is another aspect to this, which is actually that the US campaign or I would call it economic warfare against Russia, is also ending up in Europe as well. It’s aimed at Europe as well – damaging the relationship between Russia and Europe. Certainly the events in Ukraine, the whipping up of the coup in Ukraine some years back by the US and Britain in particular, and then campaigning hard and campaigning effectively intimidating the EU into putting sanctions on Russia over Ukraine – this is an attempt to jeopardize German-Russian and EU-Russian relations. The US knows that any kind of Russian– European rapprochement could be a challenge and a threat to its ongoing hegemony and global domination. Europe understands that as well, and has been in some halfhearted ways trying to put up a little bit of resistance sometimes to the anti-Russian campaign here… There are aspects like that there and like the Iran deal, as well. That was a primarily European negotiated deal that primarily European companies were looking to invest in Iran, and so on. Now Trump is throwing all of that into disarray …

RT:  It’s been three years since the sanctions war started. Yet Russian economic growth revived this year, it’s now at around 2.5 percent. So has the US achieved anything by going down this path?

DG: I think that growth would have probably been a little higher without the sanctions… If we want to be very optimistic and look on the positive side, there is some evidence that sanctions on Iran have encouraged technological development, because it’s encouraged self-reliance and the ending of reliance on imports in various aspects of the technology sector in Iran. Possibly, the same sort of effects are happening and have happened in Russia. But I think the major part of that economic war that’s been waged against Russia is not so much the sanctions, but the oil price, which was manipulated by the Saudis, or US and British proxies – manipulated by them some years back. The primary victims of that have been Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. No coincidence that these are the three major regional powers – and in Russia’s case, potentially a world power – that are in the crosshairs of US and British imperialism. So this has been a major kind of underreported and often neglected part of the war against Russia…

Courtesy: RT

Putin signs decree imposing restrictions on N. Korea as Pyongyang delegation is in Russia

Putin signs decree imposing restrictions on N. Korea as Pyongyang delegation is in Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing restrictions on North Korea in order to comply with a UN Security Council resolution.

The decree specifically refers to the UN Security Council resolution on restrictions imposed against North Korea in November 2016. The document, spanning almost 40 pages, specifies certain punitive measures that were introduced in 2007. It also refers to 11 North Korean individuals, who have been linked with the country’s nuclear program.

The move comes as a North Korean delegation arrived in St. Petersburg for the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) assembly.

The decree will also affect cooperation in the area of science and technology, while collaboration in “nuclear science and technology, air-and-space machine engineering or state-of-the-art industrial technology and methods” will still be permitted in cases where it does not contribute to the North’s nuclear- and ballistic-missile program.

President Putin has also ordered that sea vessels linked to the nuclear program be stripped of their Russian registration and banned from entering Russian ports, except in emergencies. The Russian sanctions also cover delivery of new helicopters and ships to North Korea.

Pyongyang has also been slapped with restrictions on ‘luxury’ items, such as carpets and porcelain worth more than $500 and $100 respectively.

Among other things, North Korea won’t be able to use any property in Russia, except diplomatic and consulate facilities.

On Monday, the EU also adopted a new range of sanctions against Pyongyang, which are designed to punish the North for its “continued and accelerated nuclear- and ballistic-missile programs.”

The decision taken on Monday made changes to penalties that were introduced earlier in response to the North Korean ballistic launches. These prohibited the import, sale or transfer of petroleum by the state, as well as transactions involving crude oil to Pyongyang. The fresh range of restrictions also extends to the transfer of funds.

READ MORE: N. Korea threatens Guam with ‘salvo of missiles’ as US gears up for drills with Seoul

In the meantime, the Pyongyang representative called the US sanctions “state terrorism” in a speech at the IPU session. “Sanctions against the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] are aimed at a complete halt of our foreign trade, including the areas which affect the survival of our people,” the delegation head said, as cited by Interfax. “It’s state terrorism.”

Courtesy: RT

N. Korea vows to sink Japan for ‘dancing to US tune’ & reduce US to ‘ashes and darkness’

N. Korea vows to sink Japan for ‘dancing to US tune’ & reduce US to ‘ashes and darkness’
Pyongyang says it is the time to “annihilate” the US and turn it into “ashes” for initiating the latest round of sanctions. The North has also threatened Washington’s allies in the region, vowing to “sink” Japan and “wipe out” South Korea.

North Korea made yet another threat to the US and its allies in the region, Japan and South Korea, on Wednesday, KCNA reported. The North accused the US of “cooking up” the latest restrictive measures against it and demanded that the US be beaten “to death as a stick is fit for a rabid dog.”

The 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously approved a new round of sanctions on Monday, targeting North Korea’s textile exports and oil imports following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test.

“There’s limit to patience,” the North’s state-run KCNA state news agency cited the spokesperson of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee as saying on Thursday. He accused the whole UN body of being a “tool of evil” serving Washington interests.

“Now is the time to annihilate the US imperialist aggressors. Let’s reduce the US mainland into ashes and darkness,” the communist outlet reported, also vowing to resort to “all retaliation means which have been prepared till now.”

Pyongyang says that the previous intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) flight over Japanese territory has not brought Tokyo to its senses, and it continues “to dance to the tune of the US sanctions.”

“The four islands of the [Japanese] archipelago should be sunken into the sea by the nuclear bomb of Juche. Japan is no longer needed to exist near us,” KCNA stated. Juche is the official state ideology of North Korea, which was designed by the grandfather of Kim Jong-un, President Kim Il-sung, and emphasizes national self-reliance and independence.

READ MORE: UN Security Council unanimously adopts tougher sanctions on North Korea

Tokyo blasted the North Korean statement as “extremely provocative and egregious.”

“It is something that markedly heightens regional tension and is absolutely unacceptable,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated on Thursday, as cited by Reuters.

At the same time, North Korea sees its southern neighbor’s support of sanctions as “treason” against “fellow countrymen” and promised to wipe “traitors and dogs of the US” out for the sake of reunification.

“The group of pro-American traitors should be severely punished and wiped out with fire attack so that they could no longer survive. Only then, the entire Korean nation can thrive in a reunified territory to be proud of in the world.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are rapidly mounting with North Korea continuing its missile and nuclear tests and the US, South Korean and Japanese holding drills in the area. Pyongyang says the boosting of its missile and nuclear program is justified with defense from military maneuvers.

Moscow has repeatedly warned against the escalation of the Korean crisis and advocated a diplomatic solution. Together with China, Russia has repeatedly proposed a double-freeze plan, calling for the simultaneous suspension of Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests and a halt in joint US-South Korea military exercises.

READ MORE: North Korea sanctions ‘nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen’ – Trump

Despite the plan being rejected by Washington, some of the Russian and Chinese concerns were included in the recent UNSC resolution. However, Russia doubts that sanctions are an effective tool to influence Pyongyang. US President Donald Trump has characterized the sanctions as “a small step,” which “are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen.”

Courtesy, RT

How North Korea survives on an oil-drip from Russia

Russia has voted in favor of new sanctions against North Korea in the United Nations Security Council, even though they include new oil sanctions. The Russian resource plays a much greater role than previously thought.

North Korea Propaganda

“Oil is the life blood of North Korea’s effort to build and fund a nuclear weapon,” said US ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley after the UN Security Council voted to apply new sanctionsagainst the communist country Monday in New York. Washington would like to cut off oil exports to Pyongyang altogether but has been repeatedly thwarted by Russian and Chinese opposition. Moscow, which is fundamentally opposed to tough sanctions against North Korea, feels it deserves credit for single-handedly watering down legislation so far.

Thus, there will be no oil embargo. Instead, the latest UN Resolution places limits on the delivery of petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel effective from October 1. From 2018 onwards North Korea will only be allowed to import about two million barrels of foreign oil each year. Depending on which estimates one uses, that would mean a 10-to-50 percent reduction in foreign oil imports. Until now, China was thought to be North Korea’s largest oil supplier but Russian imports have been growing steadily of late.

Read more: Germany, China back ‘peaceful’ dialogue with North Korea

United Nations Security Council holds an emergency meetingThe UN Security Council passed the new round of sanctions at the beginning of September

Trading in the gray zone

When Japan and South Korea asked Russia to stop delivering oil to North Korea before the vote at the Security Council, President Vladimir Putin played it down. He said that Russia was only exporting about “40,000 tons of oil and petroleum products per quarter.” A paltry sum compared to the hundreds of millions of tons that Russia exports to the world market. Moreover, Putin said that large Russian commodity companies were not involved in trade with North Korea.

Nevertheless, even at those small amounts the country has almost doubled its gasoline and diesel fuel exports to North Korea in the first half of 2017 according to Russian media reports based upon records from Russia’s tax authority.

But in reality the actual amount of oil being exported is likely much higher than those official records state. A former North Korean official who defected to South Korea and now lives in the United States gave an interview in June in which he claimed that Russia was actually delivering some 200,000 to 300,000 tons of oil to Pyongyang each year. Artyom Lukin of the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia, agrees with that estimate. “At current prices that amount of oil would add up to about $300 million (252 million euros) a year,” said the foreign policy expert while speaking with DW. If that number were true then it would be more than three times higher than official trade volume figures suggest. The reason: trading takes place in gray zones away from official markets, and the resource is often routed through China.

Read more: Vladimir Putin warns against ‘global catastrophe’ over North Korea nuclear crisis

Watch video02:19

Putin warns of global ‘catastrophe’ over N Korea conflict

Detour via China

The majority of Russia’s oil deliveries to North Korea are transacted through middlemen and therefore do not appear on official customs documents, says Lukin. “For instance, a gasoline delivery will be declared to be destined for China or Singapore, but then it shows up in North Korea.” The reason for that is that sanctions against trading with North Korea make bank transfers “practically impossible.” Therefore Russian suppliers need to use well-connected “Chinese middlemen.”

The Washington Post has also reported on Russia’s circuitous sales of oil to North Korea. Among other things, the newspaper based its findings on increased tanker traffic between the Russian port of Vladivostok and North Korea in the spring of 2017.

If true, such actions would be a violation of US sanctions against Pyongyang. In June, Washington imposed sanctions on the International Petroleum Company (IPC), a privately owned Russian firm run by Eduard Khudainatov who was formerly the CEO of Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil and gas company. The US sanctions also hit IPC subsidiary NNK-Primornefteprodukt, which distributes petroleum products produced at its Khabarovsk refinery and also owns oil reservoirs in Vladivostok harbor. Khudainatov told Russia’s TASS news agency that the sanctions were politically motivated. Moscow rejects US imposed limits and points to the fact that to date there have been no UN sanctions against oil deliveries to North Korea. Artyom Lukin says that Russia has not broken any international laws.

Read more: Brazil fascinated by mysterious North Korea

Closer trade relations since 2014

Moscow has been steadily strengthening its relationship with Pyongyang over the last three years as part of its so-called “eastward pivot,” which has in turn been sped by Russia’s conflict with the West over its annexation of Crimea.

In 2014 Russia extended debt relief to North Korea, taking a loss of around $10 billion on loans stemming from the days of the former Soviet Union. That same year both countries agreed upon the ruble as the currency for all future transactions. In 2015 the Russian Chamber of Commerce established an economic council for relations with North Korea. Russia’s then minister for Far East development announced that Moscow intended to increase its trade volume with North Korea tenfold – to roughly $1 billion – by the year 2020. But so far nothing has come of that. Trade dropped from about $113 million in 2013 to roughly $77 million last year, although in 2017 – thanks mainly to oil exports – customs officials have registered an increase.

Read more: What is China’s role in the North Korean crisis

Legal trade still possible

The latest UN sanctions will likely “reduce” Russian oil exports to North Korea, feels Artyom Lukin. But he says there is still room for Russia to conduct legal trade with North Korea. Still, the expert from Vladivostok predicts that one thing might become a real problem for Russian oil suppliers: the dwindling state of Pyongyang’s coffers.

Lukin says the UN sanctions hit North Korea hard because they severely limit its ability to export goods and resources. “Where is North Korea supposed to get the money to pay for gasoline from Russia or anywhere else?”

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

  • Courtesy, DW

North Korea issues threat ahead of UN sanctions vote

North Korea has said the US will pay a heavy price if the UN Security Council passes a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang. If approved, the sanctions would be the toughest ever issued against North Korea.

Nordkorea Kim Jong Un Armee Offiziere (Reuters/KCNA)

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement early on Monday saying that it was “ready and willing” to respond with its own measures should a new round of sanctions be approved later in the day.

Watch video01:04

China was North Korea’s last major trading partner.

Pyongyang is “ready and willing to use any form of ultimate means,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the country could cause the US “the greatest pain and suffering it had ever gone through in its entire history.”

The UN Security Council is due to vote on Monday afternoon, New York time, on a draft proposal of sanctions against the reclusive state.

Should they be approved, the measures would be the toughest sanctions ever passed against Pyongyang.

The Washington-drafted sanctions reportedly include a proposal to freeze leader Kim Jong Un’s assets and to place a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to the country.

“The U.S. is trying to use the DPRK’s legitimate self-defensive measures as an excuse to strangle and completely suffocate it,” the North’s statement said, using the acronym for the country’s formal name.

Read more: A closer look at which countries trade with North Korea

Infografik Nordkorea Import Export Partner ENG

Security Council due to vote

It was not clear whether veto-holding Russia and China would support the sanctions.

Prior UN sanctions resolutions have taken weeks or months of negations between the US and China, but the Trump administration demanded a quick turnaround for the vote.

The sanctions are in response to North Korea’s ongoing nuclear weapon and missile programs and its latest nuclear test.

On September 3, Pyongyang tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb in the most powerful nuclear test conducted by the country so far.

Read more: US-South Korea military drills – an unnecessary provocation of Kim Jong Un?

Infografik Kronologie Atomwaffentests Nordkorea ENG

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the US, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass. Washington circulated its draft resolution to the 15-member council last Wednesday.

The UN imposed its most severe round of sanctions against North Korea just weeks ago, which included a complete ban on coal and iron exports as well as blocking international sales of North Korean seafood and lead ore.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leaders have expressed doubt over whether sanctions are an effective way to get the North to stop its missile tests. Beijing has repeatedly hesitated in the past to fully support US sanction plans.

Read more: North Korea: Germany, China back ‘peaceful’ dialogue

In an interview published Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also stressed the importance of diplomacy in defusing tensions with Pyongyang. She also offered to facilitate the talks if needed.

“If our participation in talks is wanted, I will say yes immediately,” she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

rs/jm (AP, dpa, Reuters)

Watch video02:19

Putin warns of global ‘catastrophe’ over N Korea conflict

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

A closer look at which countries trade with North Korea

US President Donald Trump has suggested that the United States could cease trading with any country that “does business” with North Korea. But which countries actually trade with the reclusive communist state?

The inter-Korean Transit Office near the border village of Panmunjom

“The United States is considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.” So tweeted US President Donald Trump on Sunday, following the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries.

The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.

Precisely what Mr. Trump means by “doing business” is not entirely clear, but what if it means trade?

In terms of global trade, North Korea is not a big player. According to 2015 figures from the CIA World Factbook, it ranks well outside the top 100 both in terms of exports and imports. Yet the countries it trades with are big players – among the biggest, in fact.

China, the world’s largest export economy, shares a 1,420-kilometer (882-mile) border with North Korea and it is by a huge distance the communist state’s biggest trading partner. According to an extensive 2015 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Observatory of Economic Complexity, China accounts for 83 percent of North Korean exports and 85 percent of its imports.

Kim Jong-Un visits domestic fruit farmNorth Korea’s leadership is interested in making the country more self-sufficient, but that has proven a tall order

Were the US to cease all trade with China, it would have monumental implications for international trade and for the global economy. Only Canada and Mexico import more goods from the US than China (which accounts for 9.3 percent of US exports) while 21 percent of US imports come from China, making the two countries each other’s biggest trading partner.

Huge impact on trade flows

India is North Korea’s second-biggest trading partner, accounting for 3.1 percent of imports and 3.5 percent of exports. The world’s most populous democracy is the USA’s ninth-biggest trading partner, so a ceasing of trade between the US and India would have major implications too.

North Korea’s Asian neighbors make up the bulk of its remaining trade partners. In terms of exports, Pakistan (1.5 percent) and Saudi Arabia (0.89 percent) head a lengthy group of smaller export destinations while African nations such as Burkina Faso (1.2 percent) and Zambia (0.49 percent) also trade with North Korea. In terms of imports beyond those from China and India, North Korea receives goods from Russia (2.3 percent), Thailand (2.1 percent), the Philippines (1.5 percent) and Mexico (1.3 percent), ahead of a host of others.

Import Export Partner for North Korea graphic

While North Korea’s trade beyond that which it does with China retreats towards the miniscule, it conducts trade of some kind or another with well over 100 nations. Germany – the world’s third- biggest exporter – is among them, albeit on a tiny scale.

In 2015, Germany imported $3.4 million (2.9 million euros) worth of goods from North Korea, namely ferroalloys (a type of iron), wire rope and X-Ray equipment, and it exported $7.4 million worth of goods to the country, primarily packaged medications.

In total, North Korea exports $2.83 billion worth of goods and imports to the tune of $3.47 billion (2015 figures). Its major exports are coal and clothing, both of which comprise around a third of goods leaving the country. It imports a very wide variety of goods, ranging from broadcasting equipment to soybean oil.

Watch video01:22

North Korean economy grows by nearly 4 percent

DW RECOMMENDS

AUDIOS AND VIDEOS ON THE TOPIC

Courtesy, DW