U.N. vote Saturday on U.S. bid to slash North Korea exports over missile tests

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Saturday on a U.S.-drafted resolution that aims to slash by a third North Korea’s $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests in July.

A council 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 council is due to vote at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). 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 ban North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It 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.

“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.

U.S. PRESSURE ON CHINA

The draft resolution would also add nine individuals and four entities to the U.N. blacklist, including North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank, subjecting them to a global asset freeze and travel ban.

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.

“The Trump administration should issue new sanctions against China at the same time the new resolution is adopted as Beijing is still violating U.S. law by allowing its companies, individuals, and banks to facilitate North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow and former U.S. Treasury official.

FILE PHOTO: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean…

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