China, Russia renew efforts to lift UN sanctions on North Korea By Reuters – News Couple

China, Russia renew efforts to lift UN sanctions on North Korea By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The North Korean flag flutters on a flagpole at the headquarters of the North Korean permanent mission in Geneva on October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibos/File Photo

Written by Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – China and Russia are pushing the United Nations Security Council to ease sanctions on North Korea by reviving a 2019 attempt to lift a ban on Pyongyang’s exports of statues, seafood and textiles and extending it to include raising the ceiling on imports of refined petroleum. .

In a redrafted draft resolution seen by Reuters on Monday, China and Russia want the 15-member council to lift those sanctions “with the intent of enhancing the livelihoods of the civilian population” in the reclusive Asian country.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The draft also includes other measures proposed by Russia and China for the first time in nearly two years, including lifting the ban on North Koreans working abroad and exempting inter-Korean railway and road cooperation projects from sanctions.

Several UN diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the updated draft resolution would get little support. In 2019, Russia and China held two informal rounds of talks on the draft resolution, but did not formally put it to a vote.

Diplomats said on Monday that China and Russia have yet to set any talks on the new draft resolution. The resolution needs nine votes in favor and no veto by the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China is required to pass.

The missions of Russia and China at the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new text, which diplomats said was circulated to council members on Friday.

“It has always been China’s will that we should also address the humanitarian dimension caused by the sanctions imposed by the Security Council,” China’s ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told reporters last month, adding again that the 2019 draft resolution was “still on the table.”

‘A difficult situation’

A spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the discussions of the special council, but added that all UN members should focus on addressing those who are in violation of sanctions already in place.

“The Security Council has repeatedly stressed that it is ready to modify, suspend or lift the measures as needed in light of the DPRK’s commitment,” the spokeswoman said. However, the DPRK has not taken any steps to comply with Security Council demands regarding its banned nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea is officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The UN Security Council already allows humanitarian exceptions. A United Nations rights investigator last month called for sanctions relief with famine most at risk in North Korea after it slipped further into isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sanctions on industries that Russia and China had previously proposed to lift have earned North Korea hundreds of millions of dollars. It was set up in 2016 and 2017 to try to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

UN sanctions monitors reported in August that North Korea continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs during the first half of 2021 in violation of UN sanctions and despite the country’s deteriorating economic situation.

The country has long suffered from food insecurity, with observers saying mismanagement of the economy has been exacerbated by sanctions and now the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an unprecedented closing of the borders there.

The new draft resolution would make the council “recognize the difficult situation of the economy and livelihood in the DPRK in recent years, stress the need to respect the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK, and ensure the well-being, inherent dignity and rights of the people of the DPRK.”

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