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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

US, China agree UN sanctions draft; N.Korea renews threats

The United States and China reached a deal that "significantly expands" UN sanctions on North Korea for its third nuclear test, eliciting a renewed threat by Pyongyang to scrap an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea also said it would sever a military "hotline" with the United States if South Korea and Washington pressed on with two-month-long war games.

China's UN ambassador, Li Baodong, said the 15-nation Security Council was aiming for a Thursday vote on a draft sanctions resolution, which was agreed to by Washington and Beijing after three weeks of negotiations.

China is North Korea's closest ally and has a history of resisting tough sanctions on its neighbor. The Chinese envoy made clear that Beijing was displeased by North Korea's Feb. 12 nuclear test - its third since 2006 - though he cautioned against responding too harshly.

"We support action taken by the council, but we think that action should be proportionate, should be balanced and focused on bringing down the tension and focusing on the diplomatic track," Li said.

"A strong signal must be sent out that a nuclear test is against the will of the international community," he added.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said after a closed-door meeting of the Security Council that the new draft resolution "builds up, strengthens and significantly expands the scope of the strong UN sanctions already in place."

"The sanctions contained in this resolution will significantly impede the ability of North Korea to develop further its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs," she said.

She pointed out the new sanctions would target "the illicit activities of North Korean diplomatic personnel, North Korean banking relationships, (and) illicit transfers of bulk cash."

"North Korea will be subject to some of the toughest sanctions imposed by the United Nations," she told reporters.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted by Russian media as saying Moscow welcomed that the draft resolution leaves the door open to a renewal of the stalled six-party aid-for-disarmament talks between the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

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Tags:  North Korea  South Korea  US  





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