Thursday 16 August 2018

North Korea sanctions are 'another small step' - Trump

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un meets supporters yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un meets supporters yesterday. Photo: Getty Images

Roberta Rampton in Washington

US President Donald Trump said the latest UN sanctions on North Korea were only a very small step and nothing compared with what would have to happen to deal with the country's nuclear programme.

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to boost sanctions on North Korea, with its profitable textile exports now banned and fuel supplies capped, prompting a traditionally defiant threat of retaliation against the United States.

Monday's decision, triggered by the North's sixth and largest nuclear test this month, was the ninth such resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member Security Council since 2006 over North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

A tougher initial US draft was weakened to win the support of China, Pyongyang's main ally and trading partner, and Russia, both of which hold veto power in the council.

Mr Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that he was pleased Malaysia no longer did business with North Korea, before adding that he had just discussed the UN vote with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"We think it's just another very small step, not a big deal. I don't know if it has any impact, but certainly it was nice to get 15-to-nothing vote.

"But those sanctions are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen," he said, without elaborating.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had told a conference earlier yesterday that if China did not follow through on the new sanctions, "we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system".

Washington so far has mostly held off on new sanctions against Chinese banks and other companies doing business with North Korea.

North Korea's ambassador, Han Tae Song, addressed the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Switzerland yesterday and said that the United States was "fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation".

The latest resolution also calls on countries to inspect vessels on the high seas, with the consent of the flag state, if they have reasonable grounds to believe the ships are carrying prohibited cargo to North Korea.

It also bans joint ventures with North Korean entities, except for non-profit public utility infrastructure projects.

Irish Independent

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