Japan backs fresh UN sanctions against North

TOKYO • Japan backed a United States push for the United Nations Security Council to vote today on fresh sanctions against North Korea, saying that the North's nuclear programme poses the most serious threat since World War II.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday urged tougher sanctions, including curbing oil supplies to North Korea. He warned that the regime's advances in missile technology are complicating Japan's ability to intercept them.

"Japan's security environment, including North Korea, is increasingly grave - perhaps it's the most serious state in the post-war period," he told public broadcaster NHK. "If North Korea-bound oil, mainly coming from China, decreases through pressure by the international community, it will be difficult for North Korea to operate its missile brigades."

US President Donald Trump's administration is pushing the Security Council to adopt a united stance as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gets closer to being able to strike the US with a nuclear weapon.

China and Russia, which can veto any UN measures, have expressed scepticism that tough sanctions will stop the North's nuclear push and have pushed for peace talks.

  • 15

    Number of members on the Security Council.

The US has circulated a draft resolution that would, aside from barring crude oil shipments to North Korea, ban the nation's exports of textiles and employment of its guest workers by other countries, according to a diplomat at the world body. The proposal, which also calls for freezing Mr Kim's assets, has been sent to the 15 Security Council members, the envoy said. The US is willing to risk a veto of its proposal rather than see it watered down, said a Security Council diplomat who asked not to be identified.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2017, with the headline 'Japan backs fresh UN sanctions against North'. Print Edition | Subscribe