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Tuesday 12 December 2017

UK, France and Japan urge swift vote on new North Korea sanctions

The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea's north-west (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile in North Korea's north-west (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Britain, France and Japan have called for a speedy vote on a UN resolution that would impose new sanctions against North Korea following its tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Russia said the text still needs to be discussed and there is no agreement yet.

The US gave China, North Korea's neighbour and ally, a proposed resolution several weeks ago and ambassadors from both countries said on July 25 they were making progress.

Several diplomats said the two countries are close to agreement.

France's UN ambassador Francois Delattre said his government would like to see a resolution adopted "in the very coming days".

Britain's ambassador Matthew Rycroft said he hopes it will be "very soon".

Koro Bessho of Japan said "days rather than weeks".

But Russia's new UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said there has been no discussion yet among the five permanent members of the Security Council - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France - so "there was no agreement yet".

Mr Nebenzia said he had met privately on Thursday morning with China's Liu Jieyi and they discussed the possibility of a resolution.

But he said even if there was an agreement between the US and China, it does not mean there would be agreement among the five veto-wielding permanent members or with the 10 elected members of the Security Council who have not yet seen the draft resolution.

France's Mr Delattre said "quick action" and "strong additional sanctions" are needed in response to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including two recent successful ICBM tests.

"This is not a regional threat any more. It is a global threat and we take it very seriously," he said.

"Only, in our view, maximum diplomatic pressure is likely to have an impact on DPRK behaviour before it's too late," Mr Delattre said, using the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Mr Rycroft said the DPRK's capability to launch an ICBM that could in theory hit the UK and most of Europe and the US poses "a huge threat to international peace and security".

"The Security Council must respond rapidly and substantively with a new sanctions resolution," he said, "and I hope that that will come to pass in the near future".

US ambassador Nikki Haley has refused to say what sanctions were being discussed with China.

But in early July she told the Security Council that if it is united, the international community can cut off major sources of hard currency to North Korea, restrict oil to its military and weapons programmes, increase air and maritime restrictions, and hold senior officials accountable.

She said on Sunday that a resolution that does not "significantly increase" pressure on Pyongyang "is worse than nothing, because it sends the message to the North Korean dictator that the international community is unwilling to seriously challenge him".


Press Association

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