China given US proposal for new sanctions

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON • The US has given China a draft resolution for tougher United Nations sanctions on North Korea and is hoping for a quick vote on it by the UN Security Council.

A senior Trump administration official confirmed on Tuesday efforts were on to negotiate a new UN resolution, but there was no agreement. "We're trying to get another one," said the official, who did not want to be identified. "They're not there yet."

Details of the draft given to Beijing last week were not available, but Washington is keen to step up global sanctions to pressure Pyongyang to give up a weapons programme aimed at developing nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States.

Among the steps it wants is a tightening of restrictions on North Korea's supply of refined petroleum, which is capped by previous United Nations sanctions at two million barrels a year.

China, which supplies most of North Korea's oil, has backed successive rounds of UN sanctions but has resisted past US calls to cut off supplies to its neighbour. Its embassy in Washington and Foreign Ministry in Beijing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US has also called on the UN Security Council to blacklist 10 ships for circumventing sanctions on North Korea, alleging they had been conducting ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products to North Korean vessels or transporting North Korean coal in violation of existing UN sanctions.

Meanwhile, China has resumed at least some restrictions on group tours into South Korea, an inbound travel agency in the South said yesterday. The issue broke out last year as part of China's retaliation over the South's deployment of the US terminal high altitude area defence system.

China believes the anti-missile system's powerful radar can see far into its territory, but Seoul argues it needs it to guard against the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'China given US proposal for new sanctions'. Print Edition | Subscribe