US, China call for tough new N. Korea sanctions

The United States and China on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to sanction North Korean diplomats and "illicit" cash transfers to step up pressure on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

But the isolated North heightened tensions, threatening to scrap an armistice that halted the 1950-53 Korean War and warning of "strong" counter-measures against what it called US hostility.

US ambassador Susan Rice circulated the text of a sanctions resolution to the other 14 members of the Security Council and diplomats said a vote could be held on Thursday.

"For the first time ever, this resolution targets the illicit activities of North Korean diplomatic personnel, North Korean banking relationships, illicit transfers of bulk cash and new travel restrictions," Rice said after the closed meeting.

Since North Korea's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, the UN Security Council has already built up one of its toughest sanctions regimes ever imposed.

The resolution adds three new individuals and two firms to the nine people and 17 companies and state agencies subject to a UN travel ban and asset freeze, according to a UN diplomat with knowledge of the text.

It also makes it compulsory for states to stop financial transactions linked to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program and weapons exports.

This will include "bulk cash transfers" which the United States suspects are being increasingly used as the North finds contacts with the outside world cut off.

"They literally move money in suitcases full of cash," said the UN diplomat.

The resolution orders states to keep a special watch on North Korean diplomats.

"We know there have been diplomats out there cooking up deals, moving funds around and engaging in activities they shouldn't," said the diplomat.

The resolution makes searches of suspect ships compulsory and orders UN members to refuse access to planes suspected of carrying banned material to or from North Korea.

The Security Council would put new technology items on the banned trading list, in a bid to halt the North's uranium enrichment program, which is named for the first time in a resolution.

The proposed measures would "take the UN sanctions imposed on North Korea to the next level, breaking new ground and imposing significant new legal obligations," Rice told reporters after the closed council meeting.

Rice and Chinese ambassador Li Baodong have been negotiating the measures since the North staged its third nuclear test on February 12.

Diplomats said there had been "tough talks" between the two.

Li told reporters there had been "some different views" on how to respond but added that China supports Security Council action.

Beijing opposes North Korea's nuclear test and the international community has "got to bring an end to that program. That's why we need a strong signal," Li said.

"We think that action should be proportionate, should be balanced and focus on bringing down the tension and focusing on the diplomatic track," Li added.

The proposed resolution vows "further significant measures" if a new nuclear test or rocket launch is staged.

But ahead of the meeting North Korea threatened to scrap the historic armistice that has helped keep the peace on the Korean peninsula for the past six decades.

The North's military said in a statement that it would cut off a military hotline in the truce village of Panmunjom, which straddles the heavily fortified border with South Korea.

It also threatened "strong" additional countermeasures in response to what it called US hostility.

The armistice will be "completely" nullified from March 11, when military exercises by South Korean and US forces get into full swing, said the statement.

The annual Foal Eagle exercise began on March 1 and will run until April 30, involving more than 10,000 US troops and a far greater number of South Korean military.

Pyongyang habitually denounces such drills as a provocative rehearsal for invasion. The North has threatened in the past to scrap the armistice at times of high tension.

Pyongyang's February 12 nuclear test was the most powerful it has conducted yet. Diplomats and experts have said it is possible a new test could be staged.

Rice said "the more provocations that occur, the more isolated and impoverished, sadly, North Korea will become."

In 2006, the UN Security Council ordered an embargo on arms and material for ballistic missiles. It also banned exports of luxury goods. The new resolution names jewelry, luxury and racing cars and yachts that must be banned.

In 2009, the council banned North Korea's weapons exports and ordered all countries to search suspect shipments.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats

    Filipino activists denounced China's coast guard on Tuesday for turning water cannon on Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters, near where hundreds of Filipino and American Marines landed on a beach in a mock assault. The presidential palace in Manila said China's coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. …

  • U.S. says if China used water cannons on Philippine boats, would be provocative'

    The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that if reports that China used water cannon son Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters are accurate, it would be a provocative step. Filipino activists have accused China's coast guard of turning water cannons on civilian boats in the disputed area on Monday. …

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

  • ‘Racist remark vs Pinays not reflective of HK sentiment’
    ‘Racist remark vs Pinays not reflective of HK sentiment’

    The Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong believes that the “racist” statement of legislator Regina Ip against Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong is not reflective of the general sentiments of the Hong Kong community. Hong Kong is home to more than 173,00 Filipinos working mostly as household service workers. “They have left their loved ones back home to earn a decent living taking care of Hong Kong families. This, in turn, has engendered positive impact on both the quality of life …

  • SWS: Gov’t rating sinks to record low
    SWS: Gov’t rating sinks to record low

    “The Aquino administration is firmly determined to carry on and complete priority programs in all five pillars of the Philippine development plan, to ensure that reforms will be sustained by strengthened public institutions, to tread the righteous path and ensure that good governance becomes the norm at all levels of government, and to sustain and make permanent the gains from the transformation of mindsets and institutions,” Coloma added. Lawmakers expressed belief yesterday that the Aquino …

  • ‘Pacmania’ sweeping the nation
    ‘Pacmania’ sweeping the nation

    Manny Pacquiao’s face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses, and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero’s “fight of the century” nears. Pacmania is sweeping the nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. …

  • House committee to put Bangsamoro police under PNP
    House committee to put Bangsamoro police under PNP

    The House ad hoc committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will put police forces in the envisioned new autonomous Muslim region under the Philippine National Police (PNP), and not under the regional chief minister. “We will delete the provision in the draft BBL giving the chief minister operational, administrative and disciplinary control over police forces in the region,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, committee chairman, said in a television interview. He said under …

  • Phl to seek more US military aid
    Phl to seek more US military aid

    The Philippines said yesterday it would soon ask the United States for more military equipment and training to build its defenses, as it faces Chinese “aggressiveness” in disputed waters. As hundreds of Filipino and American Marines simulated an amphibious assault to reclaim territory from invaders during annual war games, Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said he was drafting a “wish list” for US aid. Catapang said the Philippines would ask for “equipment and training” when …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options