A U.S. proposal for new United Nations sanctions against North Korea would clamp an embargo on its oil and textile trade and slap a full asset freeze and world-wide travel ban on leader Kim Jong Un and key regime members and institutions, according to a draft of the proposal.
If adopted, the resolution would significantly escalate political and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang as it continues to defy U.N. resolutions with its nuclear and ballistic-missile tests.
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The U.S. circulated a draft of the resolution, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, to all 15 members of the Security Council, and diplomats said they expect a vote on Sept. 11. Negotiations for a consensus have expanded from talks between the U.S. and China to all members of the council, diplomats said.
"This is an ambitious and hard-hitting resolution," said a Security Council diplomat. "We will be open to negotiations but there must be a strong resolution."
The new sanctions resolution was designed to cripple the heart of the regime, from Mr. Kim to the military and key ministries, in an effort to use diplomacy to halt the country's accelerating nuclear-weapons program.
The resolution faces hurdles in winning the backing of China and Russia. Both veto-holding countries are allies of North Korea and have said they don't favor sanctions that would cripple the economy to the brink of collapse, or contribute to the suffering of civilians. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that cutting off oil exports to North Korea would violate humanitarian norms.
In a phone call with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is working "unswervingly" to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, according to state broadcaster China Central Television. Mr. Xi said a peaceful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue could only be found through dialogue, CCTV reported.
Mr. Trump emphasized China's "important role" in solving the North Korean nuclear problem, according to CCTV. Both leaders said they were looking forward to a visit to China by Mr. Trump later this year.
Under the resolution, member states and their citizens and vessels would be prohibited from exporting to North Korea all crude oil, refined petroleum products and liquefied natural gas.
North Korea would also be banned from selling or transferring textiles, including fabrics and apparel products and member states prohibited from procuring textiles originating from North Korea.
Individuals targeted under the proposed asset and travel freeze include: Hwang Pyong So, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission; Kim Ki Nam, director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department, which controls all media; his Vice Director Kim Yo Jong; and Pak Yong Sik, a member of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Military Commission.
Seven key government institutions that help prop up the North Korean regime and its control of the public are blacklisted in the resolution. They include the Central Military Commission, the army and propaganda and state-media ministries.
The list of sanctioned entities would also be expanded to Air Koryo, North Korea's national airline, which the resolution says is implicated for carrying illicit military equipment.
The resolution also would authorize all member states to inspect North Korean cargo vessels on high seas and report the details of the ship and the inspection to the U.N. sanctions committee.
As well, member states would be prohibited from hiring or paying North Korean nationals working in their countries unless approved in advance by the sanctions committee on a case-by-case basis. The resolution stipulates that workers can be expelled back to North Korea if they are remitting funds to the government.
North Korea's mission to the U.N. and Air Koryo didn't respond to requests to comments.
Josh Chin in Beijing contributed to this article.
Write to Farnaz Fassihi at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 06, 2017 21:51 ET (01:51 GMT)