US, China agree on tougher sanctions against North Korea

US, China agree on tougher sanctions against North Korea

The United States and China on Tuesday agreed on strengthening and expanding sanctions against North Korea after it tested a third nuclear device in February despite calls by the international community to cancel the plan, DPA reported.

The US and China, two of the five veto-wielding UN Security Council permanent members, submitted a draft resolution described by US Ambassador Susan Rice as containing "the toughest" UN sanctions. The other veto powers are Russia, Britain and France.

"North Korea will be subject to the toughest UN sanctions," Rice told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the council to discuss the draft.

Rice said she would expect the 15-nation council to adopt the draft unanimously later this week.

"The scope of the sanctions is exceptional to demand North Korea to comply with is international obligations," Rice said, adding that the new measures aim at punishing "illicit activities" by North Korea in areas of diplomacy, banking and money laundering.

The Pyongyang government carried out the underground nuclear test on February 12. In the two previous nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, and firing of ballistic missiles in between those dates, the council countered with sanctions banning the imports of nuclear and ballistic missile technology as well as measures against North Korean banks and corporations.

In Washington, US Congressman Ed Royce called for further sanctions against North Korea that would target its illicit financial activities to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear activities.

"It is important to realize we have more options other than to simply rely on Beijing to 'do more,'" said Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"We must go after Kim Jong Un's illicit activities like we went after organized crime in the United States: identify the network, interdict shipments, and disrupt the flow of money."

The committee held a hearing on North Korea's activities as fresh sanctions were being introduced in the United Nations, but Royce stressed even more needed to be done, claiming the current strategy was not working.

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