UN panel close to naming N.Korea sanctions targets
The U.N. Security Council neared agreement on Wednesday on North Korean firms and individuals to be added to a blacklist for involvement in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, diplomats said, Reuters reported.
"We are very close" to agreement, Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu told reporters. Diplomats from several countries said a council committee that has been discussing the issue for a month was on target to meet a weekend deadline for completing its task and could do so as early as Wednesday.
The committee, representing all 15 nations on the council, held a brief meeting on Wednesday morning and scheduled another for the afternoon, Turkish envoy Fazli Corman, who chairs the group, told journalists.
The Security Council passed a resolution on June 12 that expanded previous U.N. sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear test it carried out on May 25, and asked the committee to add new names to the sanctions list.
The committee had already in April placed two North Korean companies and a bank on the list in its first action in two years. That move followed a long-range rocket launch earlier in the month by Pyongyang.
This week's blacklisting is expected to go further by specifying individuals and goods to be subject to sanctions, as well as further companies.
That would prohibit companies and nations around the world from doing business with the named firms and require them to freeze assets and impose travel bans on the individuals.
Names to be put on the list were submitted to the committee last month by the United States, Britain, France and Japan. Western diplomats said China and Russia had been slow to respond but they believed the delays were mainly bureaucratic.
"We're confident of an outcome which will be commensurate with DPRK (North Korea) actions and will be effective and will significantly improve the (sanctions) regime," said one Western diplomat, speaking on condition he was not identified.
The sanctions are intended to target only companies and individuals that are connected to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and diplomats said the proposed goods to be sanctioned were also all weapons-related.
The June 12 sanctions resolution banned all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the reclusive communist state.
It also authorized U.N. member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, requiring them to seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of the sanctions.
North Korea responded by saying it would take "firm military action" if the United States and its allies tried to isolate it.
The sanctions committee was created after the Security Council adopted punitive measures against North Korea for its first nuclear test in October 2006.