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NZ to implement United Nations sanctions on Nth Korea

07 August 2017

Just hours before the meetings were due to start, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to back a US-drafted resolution to dramatically tighten the existing sanctions targeting North Korea.

The United States entered into negotiations with China a month ago on the new resolution after Pyongyang launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, which was followed by a second test on July 28.

As North Korea's main ally and biggest trading partner, China's role is crucial to pressuring leader Kim Jong Un into halting his push for a nuclear-tipped missile that can hit the USA mainland.

China is central to this drive and is the focus of other administration efforts - and some frustration, mostly displayed in tweets by President Donald Trump.

If enforced, the biggest financial hit of the resolution will be the ban on coal, which alone brings in more than $400 million in revenue for Kim Jong Un's government.

There are also new restrictions on North Korean imports of "dual use" products - commercial items that could have benign applications but can also be turned to military use. It would also impose an asset freeze on two companies and two banks.

People watch a TV broadcast of a news report on North Korea firing what appeared to be several land-to-ship missiles off its east coast, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, June 8, 2017.

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"Who has been carrying out the U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning North Korea?"

Russia's Permanent Representative Vassily Alekseevich Nebenzia said there could be no progress as long as North Korea perceived a direct threat to its security from military exercises by the United States and its regional allies and the deployment of the anti-ballistic missile system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD).

If fully implemented, the measures would tighten the economic vise around Pyongyang as it seeks to develop its missile and nuclear programs.

The wording of the United Nations resolution suggests some of the give and take that may have persuaded China and Russian Federation to raise their hands, rather than abstain.

"We will not hesitate to sanction third-country entities and individuals supporting North Korea's illegal activities", he warned.

"The bottom line is that it's the same old thing". China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi called for a halt to the deployment and for any equipment in place to be dismantled.

"Never have they complained because, to them, they know where he stands and what he stands for", Haley said.

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North Korea's nuclear programme is expected to be a major issue but there are no plans for a bilateral meeting between Mr Tillerson and the North Korean representative. "Sanctions are needed but not the ultimate goal", he said.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

One is some shrewd preparation by secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

"We're trying to convey to the North Koreans we are not your enemy, we are not your threat", he added.

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ASEAN countries have argued that is hard since its members do not have substantive ties with North Korea.

The resolution was a direct response to North Korean missile tests that appeared to bring the United States within range for the first time.

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The export of coal, ore and other raw materials to China is one of North Korea's few sources of cash.

NZ to implement United Nations sanctions on Nth Korea