12/17/2019, 09.28
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Moscow and Beijing: Reduce sanctions on Pyongyang

The two countries present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council.  The document comes less than a week after the US summoned the body to discuss the recent North Korean tests.  For Washington, "it is premature" to consider the lifting of punitive measures.



New York (AsiaNews) - China and Russia have proposed a draft United Nations (UN) resolution that would give North Korea relief from sanctions.  According to Reuters, the proposed measures include the exemption of inter-Korean rail and road projects from restrictions. The text seen by the news agency also seeks to revoke the sanctions that affect North Korean exports of statues, seafood and textiles;  it also calls for the ban on North Koreans from working abroad and for repatriation by 22 December next.

Presented yesterday, Beijing and Moscow's proposal comes less than a week after the United States summoned the UN Security Council to discuss the recent North Korean missile launches and possible future provocations.  At the meeting, envoys from China and Russia asked to explore ways to ease sanctions against North Korea in order to facilitate diplomatic efforts for denuclearization.

However, Kelly Craft, Washington's permanent representative at the United Nations, urged the North to refrain from provocations and warned that if events prove otherwise, the Council will have to prepare to "act accordingly".  Craft also said that any discussion of a new "road map" or Security Council resolution must reflect the "reality" that North Korea has continued to develop and test banned missile programs over the past year and a half and refused  to start a lasting dialogue.  When asked about the proposal, a spokesman for the US State Department stated that "it is premature" to consider lifting the sanctions.

Reuters says it is unclear when or if the draft resolution could go to the 15-member Security Council vote.  United States, China and Russia are permanent members with veto rights, along with France and Great Britain.  Russia and China argue that their proposal was presented "with the aim of improving the living conditions of the civilian population".

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