Go to contents

China, Russia submit resolution to ease sanctions against N. Korea

China, Russia submit resolution to ease sanctions against N. Korea

Posted December. 18, 2019 07:49,   

Updated December. 18, 2019 07:49


China and Russia submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for the partial ease of sanctions against North Korea, including a ban on the project to build railways and roads connecting South Korea and North Korea and the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad, and the resumption of six-party talks. The two countries shared the details of the draft resolution with South Korea before submission.

According to Reuters on Monday (local time), the draft resolution submitted by China and Russia to the Security Council was circulated to its member countries. Though the two countries raised the need to lift or ease sanctions against North Korea at a Security Council meeting on the denuclearization of the North on Wednesday, this is the first time that a formal resolution calling for such actions was submitted.

The draft text said the Council “shall adjust the sanction measures towards the DPRK as may be needed in light of the DPRK's compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” It also called for the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea to have “the most favorable approach towards requests for exemptions from existing UN sanctions against the DPRK for humanitarian and livelihood purposes.” The sanctions called to be lifted by China and Russia are related to North Korea’s acquisition of foreign currency, including a ban on exports of bronze statues (Resolution 2321), a ban on exports of seafood (Resolution 2371), a ban on exports of textile and clothes (2375), and the repatriation of North Korean workers overseas (Resolution 2375 and 2379). The draft would also exempt inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects from U.N. sanctions. It seems that China and Russia intended to reveal the intention to expand their influence on the issues of the Korean Peninsula at the UN while the U.S.-North Korea negotiations reached a deadlock. Some experts believe that the two countries preemptively brought up the ease of sanctions in anticipation of the U.S.’ request to strengthen sanctions in case of North Korea’s major provocations, such as launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

However, the U.S. State Department said that now was not the time to consider lifting sanctions on North Korea and that President Donald Trump is focused on diplomacy to change the U.S.-North Korea relations, build lasting peace, and achieve complete denuclearization. As the U.S.’ response practically rejected the proposal by China and Russia, it is unlikely that the draft resolution will be passed.

Yong Park parky@donga.com · Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com