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Saturday, 30 April 2016

UN council discusses move to enforce North Korea sanctions

© KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/File / by Carole Landry | This picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 24, 2016 shows the underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on April 23, 2016
UNITED NATIONS (UNITED STATES) (AFP) -  UN Security Council diplomats were negotiating a draft statement on Friday that would push for tough sanctions on North Korea to be enforced worldwide after Pyongyang's latest test-firing of medium-range missiles.
The draft statement, obtained by AFP, requests that all UN member-states report no later than May 31 on the "concrete measures" they have taken to implement the sanctions resolution.
It directs a UN sanctions committee to "intensify its work to strengthen enforcement of resolution 2270," which was adopted in March after North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and fired a rocket.
The United States and China agreed on the statement but its adoption was delayed after Russia requested more time to consider the text, diplomats said.
The statement was now likely to be adopted during the weekend or next week, they said.
The measure strongly condemns the most recent failed ballistic missile launches and demands that North Korea refrain from further actions that violate UN resolutions.
The 15-member council held urgent closed-door consultations on Thursday after North Korea's unsuccessful launch, the third attempt in two weeks to test-fly a Musudan missile, which is capable of striking US bases on the Pacific island of Guam.
The United States requested the meeting after a series of test-firings and as fears grew that the secretive country is preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, told reporters that work was continuing on the statement which must be unanimously agreed by the 15 council members to be released.
"It is really a volatile situation. The way out is to have political negotiations of the problems that we face," said Liu, renewing a call for the resumption of six-party talks on the Korean peninsula.
- No war, no chaos -
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday underscored Beijing's commitment to enforcing existing UN sanctions on North Korea and to preventing any instability on its doorstep.
"As a close neighbor, we will never allow war or chaos on the (Korean) peninsula," he told a meeting of regional foreign ministers in Beijing.
Current UN resolutions bar North Korea from developing any ballistic missile-related and nuclear technology, but Pyongyang has defiantly pressed on with its military programs.
Anxiety has been high since Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and a rocket launch a month later that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.
The council responded with its toughest sanctions to date, angering the North, which has since made repeated threats of attacks targeting Seoul and Washington.
Among the sweeping measures is a new requirement that all countries must inspect cargo destined for and coming from North Korea, in all airports and sea ports.
The resolution bans or restricts exports of coal, iron and iron ore and other minerals from North Korea, and prohibits the supply of aviation fuel including rocket fuel.
It was the fifth set of UN sanctions to hit North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
by Carole Landry
© 2016 AFP

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