June 11, 2009 08:49
China has agreed to join a harsh U.S.-led resolution in the UN Security Council sanctioning North Korea over its recent nuclear test. The sanctions are aimed mainly at choking off North Korea's supply of dollars through arms deals, a South Korean official said.
Another official on Wednesday said seven countries, namely the five permanent UNSC members -- the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia -- plus South Korea and Japan, have reached agreement on a resolution. A full session on Thursday will formally adopt the resolution.
The draft resolution consists of three parts -- search of suspicious ships entering or leaving North Korea, ban on weapons trade, and financial sanctions. It is in effect a harsher version of UNSC Resolution 1718, which was adopted after the North conducted the first nuclear test in 2006.
The framework was laid chiefly by the U.S. and Japan. But even North Korean allies China and Russia, which had until recently taken a lukewarm attitude toward sanctions in consideration of their traditional ties, agreed to back the resolution.
The resolution makes it possible to stop and search all suspicious ships entering and leaving North Korea. Success or failure of such searches will depend on how faithfully UN member nations carry out the resolution. But it could be a bigger blow to the North than the Proliferation Security Initiative, a U.S.-led anti-proliferation regime the North has called a "declaration of war." The PSI has 95 members and does not include China but the UNSC resolution applies to all 192 UN members.
Regarding the weapons trade, Resolution 1718 targets only weapons of mass destruction and missiles, but the new resolution targets "all kinds of weapons and all related materials." "This reflects the international community's intention to completely ban the North from continuing weapons exports, its main source of foreign currency," a government source said.
The resolution also envisages controlling "all financial transactions that could contribute to North Korea's development of WMD and missile programs." It also bans all kinds of economic aid to the North, with exception of humanitarian aid and aid for the purpose of denuclearization.
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