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May 25, 2016 12:17

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08:50 26 February 2016

U.S. presents "unprecedented sanctions" resolution against N. Korea

NEW YORK, Feb. 25, Kyodo

The United States on Thursday introduced to the U.N. Security Council a draft resolution that would sharply enhance the global body's sanctions regime against North Korea for conducting its recent nuclear test and a subsequent rocket launch in violation of previous resolutions.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power told Kyodo News the same day that the document includes "unprecedented sanctions" and "goes well beyond anything we have done for North Korea, anything we did at all for Iran, which of course had a devastating effect on the Iranian economy."

The draft features measures designed to deny the North Korean regime access to funds and technology to advance their illicit programs, she said. It also includes comprehensive cargo interdiction as well as bans on the supply of aviation fuel and conventional arms to, and export of gold and rare minerals from, the country.

The document also includes an expanded blacklist of individuals and entities, according to a U.S. official familiar with the text.

After its members scrutinize the draft, the Security Council is expected to adopt it shortly, a move likely to draw sharp reactions from Pyongyang.

The newest resolution has come after roughly seven weeks of negotiations led mainly by the United States and China, the North's major ally who had apparently been reluctant to impose severe measures that could destabilize its neighboring country.

Just hours before the submission of the document, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke of Beijing's readiness to accept the potential impact the new resolution would have on its relations with North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"China and the DPRK have maintained normal interactions but when the new Security Council resolution is adopted ... these will be affected," he said at a think tank in Washington. "We can foresee that."

In New York, after submitting the resolution, Power told reporters that the draft resolution represents "the strongest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades."

She added that the resolution "is careful not to punish the North Korean people" who "have suffered so much already under one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known."

North Korea detonated what it claims to be a hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6, less than one week after Japan joined the Security Council as a nonpermanent member. On Feb. 7, it launched a rocket carrying a satellite.

Under a series of Security Council resolutions dating back to 2006 when Pyongyang conducted its first atomic test, North Korea has been banned from pursuing such nuclear weapons programs and using the type of long-range ballistic missile technology needed for a rocket launch.

Pointing to North Korea's history of making "no change" in its course of action despite four strong U.N. resolutions, Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa said, "This time we believe stronger measures are necessary."

==Kyodo

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