US Presses China, Russia on Sanctions 07/21 09:23

US Presses China, Russia on Sanctions  07/21 09:23

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States on Friday welcomed the U.N. 
Security Council's united support for the fully verified denuclearization of 
North Korea and pressed China and Russia to strictly enforce U.N. sanctions to 
get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

   U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused North Korea of violating an 
array of tough sanctions imposed by the council. He warned that "when sanctions 
are not enforced, the prospects for the successful denuclearization of North 
Korea are diminished."

   Nonetheless, Pompeo told reporters after meeting behind closed doors with 
the 15 council members that President Donald Trump "remains upbeat about the 
prospects for denuclearization" following his historic summit in Singapore with 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "So do I, as progress is happening," he added 
without elaborating.

   The Trump administration hopes that one day North Korea will be at the 
United Nations "not as a pariah but as a friend," Pompeo said. But "it will 
take full enforcement of sanctions for us to get there" as well as Kim 
following through "on his personal commitments" to Trump.

   At the summit, Trump and Kim agreed to work toward denuclearization of the 
Korean Peninsula, without describing when and how it would occur.

   Follow-up talks this month between Pompeo and North Korean senior officials 
in Pyongyang had a rocky start, with North Korea accusing the United States of 
making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands.

   Pompeo stressed Friday that the 15 Security Council nations "are united on 
the need for final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea."

   Pyongyang for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearization" that 
bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear 
development unless Washington removes its 28,500 troops from South Korea and 
the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

   China, which is North Korea's closest ally and responsible for more than 90 
percent of the isolated country's trade, backs North Korea's call for a "phased 
and synchronous" approach to denuclearization.

   Last month, Beijing suggested the Security Council consider suspending or 
lifting sanctions on North Korea if it is in compliance with U.N. resolutions 
and making progress in negotiations. Russia said Friday it also backs this 
approach.

   Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, said that Pompeo 
confirmed the U.S. "will seek the full denuclearization" of North Korea.

   "It is necessary that the denuclearization go step by step with parallel 
actions by the international community," Polyansky said. "We are talking about 
easing sanctions pressure through the U.N. Security Council, as well as the 
removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions."

   Some exemptions have already taken place.

   This week, South Korea received exemptions from the Security Council 
committee monitoring North Korea sanctions for communications lines between the 
North and South and for some goods for the North including furniture, transport 
vehicles and a bus.

   The U.S. has pushed for rapid moves toward ridding North Korea of its 
nuclear weapons and says sanctions will remain until Pyongyang follows through 
on Kim's pledge. But Trump has recently been playing down expectations of quick 
results, saying this week there was "no time limit" on getting North Korea to 
denuclearize.

   U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, standing beside Pompeo, made clear that Kim 
Jong Un must take action first.

   "We continue to reiterate we can't do one thing until we see North Korea 
respond to their promise to denuclearize," Haley said. "We have to see some 
sort of action. And so until that action happens, the Security Council is going 
to hold tight."

   As for the broader international community, she said, "we ask you to hold 
tight as we go forward."

   Pompeo said "the scope and scale" of denuclearization "is agreed to" and 
"the North Koreans understand what that means," though he didn't elaborate and 
sidestepped a question on what the first step should be.

   "We need to see chairman Kim do what he promised the world he would do," 
Pompeo said.

   Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said that "China is committed to 
denuclearization" and "to peace and stability on the Peninsula." He added that 
China will "fully implement" U.N. sanctions resolutions, adding that "everyone" 
else should as well.

   But, Pompeo said, North Korea is "illegally smuggling" in refined petroleum 
products beyond the quota of 500,000 barrels per year allowed under U.N. 
sanctions, mainly by ship-to-ship transfers.

   U.S. documents sent to the committee and obtained by The Associated Press 
cite 89 instances between Jan. 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers 
likely delivered refined products "illicitly procured" via such transfers.

   The U.S. says Russia and China both informed the sanctions committee that 
they were supplying refined products to North Korea.

   Pompeo said North Korea is also evading sanctions by smuggling coal by sea 
and across borders, through cyber thefts and other criminal activities, and by 
keeping workers in some countries that he didn't name.

   These actions are all "generating significant revenues for the regime and 
they must be stopped," he said.

   Haley criticized "some friends who want to go around the rules," and 
especially Russia and China for blocking the sanctions committee from demanding 
that all countries halt shipments of petroleum products to North Korea 
immediately.

   Moscow and Beijing said they need additional time to investigate the U.S. 
allegations and put a six-month "hold" on the U.S. request.

   "Are they telling us that they want to continue supplying this oil?" Haley 
asked. "They claim they need more information. We don't need any more 
information. The sanctions committee has what it needs. We all know it's going 
forward."

   Dutch Ambassador Karel Van Oosterom said the Security Council made clear to 
Pompeo that it wants to see "concrete actions and deeds" from North Korea to 
denuclearize.

   Van Oosterom, who chairs the North Korea sanctions committee, told 
reporters: "I think for all of us it's clear that the progress is in the talks 
so far, that the engagement is there and the discussions are taking place."

   South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said North Korea made "a clear 
commitment on complete denuclearization repeatedly and, of course, very 
forcefully at the Singapore summit with President Trump, and we will hold them 
up to that commitment."


(KA)

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