North Korean crude oil supply becomes sticking point in new sanctions draft

Theresa May and Kim Jong-un

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The last war on the Korean peninsula pitted the United States against China at a cost of millions of military and civilian lives.

On Monday, the UNSC, however, condemned Pyongyang for its "flagrant disregard" of its previous resolutions, and demanded that it immediately suspend its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

Despite deep frustration with Kim Jong-un, North Korea is a Chinese neighbour and ally, a fellow Leninist state with a shared victim narrative about the past and a shared ambition for the future to remove the U.S. presence in North East Asia. "The choice is theirs".

The resolution is up for a vote at the U.N. Security Council on Monday afternoon, but it does not appear to be the "strongest possible" sanctions that the Trump administration had hoped for from the global body.

Along with settling for the compromise on oil, the USA unsuccessfully tried to get a travel ban and freezes on the assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Air Koryo, the North's flagship airline.

The UN security council imposed a ban on North Korea textile exports and a ceiling on the country's imports of crude oil on Monday, ratcheting up sanctions that are likely to hit the country's ordinary citizens.

Additionally, the new measures will prevent overseas workers from earning wages that finance the North Korean regime - over $500 million each year - in addition to cutting off foreign investments, technology transfers and other economic cooperation, according to a statement from the USA mission to the UN.

"If we put firm pressure on North Korea such that it realises it cannot develop missiles, it will accept dialogue and we can progress with diplomatic efforts", Onodera told public broadcaster NHK on Sunday. This resolution calls on countries to inspect ships if there are reasonable grounds for a search and only with consent.

Joint ventures will be banned and the names of senior North Korean official and three entities were added to a United Nations sanctions blacklist that provides for an assets freeze and a global travel ban.

"The world will witness how (North Korea) tames the United States gangsters by taking a series of actions tougher than they have ever envisaged", the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

China's official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday urged the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to proactively engage in diplomatic outreach "in order to end an "endless loop" on the Korean peninsula where "nuclear and missile tests trigger tougher sanctions and tougher sanctions invite further tests".

A Security Council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by permanent members the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China to pass.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later".

Security Council diplomats, who weren't authorized to speak publicly because talks have been private, said the US and China were still negotiating the text late Sunday.

The resolution does ban North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates, and caps Pyongyang's imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months.

The US wanted a complete ban on oil exports to North Korea, immediate end to employment of an estimated 93,000 of its citizens overseas, forcible boarding of ships trading with that country to check for contraband, and restrictions on UN.

Visitors to North Korea say the airline has diversified into new markets in recent months, including cigarettes and fizzy drinks, a taxi fleet and petrol stations in North Korea.

"It will be up to Chinese companies that deal in the North Korean textile trade to take action and up to the Chinese government to ensure the Chinese companies are taking action".

The new sanctions follow North Korea's most powerful nuclear test to date which the country had carried out on September 3.

Pyongyang has staged a series of missile tests in recent months that appeared to bring much of the United States mainland into range.

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