Saturday, 17 November, 2018

USA announces fresh sanctions over NK nuclear program

U.N. Nikki Haley speaks at press briefing at U.N. headquarters in New York USA announces fresh sanctions over NK nuclear program
Steven Clarke | 16 September, 2018, 00:30

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Thursday accused Moscow of seeking to cover up breaches of UN sanctions on North Korea by Russians after it pushed for changes to an independent report on sanctions violations.

The United States on Thursday sanctioned two companies in China and Russian Federation for allegedly facilitating North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Thursday's action particularly targets the revenue earned for the Pyongyang government by North Korean IT workers overseas.

The announcement highlighted findings of the UN Security Council that revenue generated from overseas North Korean businesses contributes to the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

A North Korean national, Song Hwa-jong, was also sanctioned, Reuters reported, citing the statement.

It also said Pyongyang continues to defy global sanctions through a "massive increase" in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products.

A panel of independent experts put together in early August a confidential report to a U.N. Security Council sanctions committee.

The Treasury Department accused China Silver Star of having ties to the US and UN-designated Munitions Industry Department, controlled by North Korea's ruling party.

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"This is a unsafe precedent and a stain on the important work of the panel", Haley said.

The Department of the Treasury also sanctioned a North Korean individual in the latest set of sanctions aimed at denuclearizing the regime.

According to an anonymous United Nations diplomat, the Russia "obtained the removal of the main part of the paragraphs", referring to the panel's original report that had named the Russian ships and entities accused of breaking USA sanctions.

By blocking since early August release of the original document, Russia explained that the report relied mainly on American information and did not take into account a Russian analysis of the application of sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council will meet on Monday over the implementation of sanctions on North Korea at the request of Washington, the USA mission to the United Nations said.

"The full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions remains mandatory for all member states - including Russian Federation".

The sanctions come at a time when the United States is maintaining pressure on the North Korean government in its negotiations to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

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