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
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
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
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,"
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
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
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
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."