European Union seeks to ramp up North Korea sanctions pressure


The UN security council imposed a ban on North Korea textile exports and a ceiling on the country's imports of crude oil on Monday, ratcheting up sanctions that are likely to hit the country's ordinary citizens.

"The recent test of the H-bomb is a great victory won by the Korean people at the cost of their blood while tightening their belts in the arduous period", young North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said at the banquet Saturday, referring to North Korea's success in the face of tough international sanctions and mounting pressure.

A US official, familiar with the council negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters North Korea imported some 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum products annually and four million barrels of crude oil.

All those activities are thought to help fund the nuclear-weapons program.

The latest UN sanctions on North Korea were supposed to be extremely hard-hitting, but instead showed the influence of Russia and China in pushing for diplomacy, said Christine Hong from the Korea Policy Institute. The Communist regime under which Mansky and I both grew up sort of worked like that, too - but North Korea has created a "perfect, flawless" version of the game. "Nuclear weapons are our means of self-defense and protection from the United States, which continues its hostile actions and nuclear blackmail", Kim said. US officials showed Congress satellite images of illicit trade to highlight the challenge of getting China and Russia to cut off commerce with the rogue nation.

"The issue is between us and China", Bannon said. This summer, the US targeted two Russian companies with penalties for supporting North Korean missile procurement.

Mansky doesn't believe trying to somehow educate North Koreans is possible with the Kim regime in place.

KELEMEN: Well, China and Russia have been encouraging that and repeated that again on the floor of the Security Council today.

Seoul's presidential office welcomed the new resolution, saying that its approval confirms that the international community holds the shared belief that stronger measures are needed. But at the end of the day we need dialogue.

The move came amid international outrage over the pariah state's sixth nuclear test - its most powerful to date - earlier this month and its intercontinental ballistic missile launch in July.

The United States dropped demands that Kim be added to a UN sanctions blacklist, hitting the North Korean leader with an assets freeze and global travel ban. Still, North Korea rejected the measure, and Han said Washington "fabricated the most vicious sanction resolution", according to wire reports.

He did not elaborate, but North Korea frequently vows to destroy the United States.

The system, controlled from a NATO base in Germany, includes radars and interceptors stretching from eastern Europe to the Mediterranean.

Trump said it was "nice" to get a 15-0 vote at the UN.

The United States says the shield, more than a decade in the planning, is needed to protect against so-called rogue states, a term U.S. officials have used to refer to North Korea and Iran.