China and Russia are urging the U.N. Security Council to end a host of sanctions against North Korea ranging from the export of seafood and textiles to the cap on imports of refined petroleum products and the ban on its citizens working overseas and sending home their earnings.
A draft resolution circulated to council members and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press stresses the economic difficulties in North Korea and says these and other sanctions should be lifted “with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population.”
The Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and made them tougher and tougher in response to further nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program. Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said in 2018 that the sanctions had cut off all North Korean exports and 90% of its trade and disbanded the pool of workers whom North Korea sent abroad to earn hard currency.
DRAFT RESOLUTION LIKELY TO FACE UPHILL STRUGGLE
The draft resolution expands on a similar resolution Russia and China had circulated in December 2019. It faced opposition from Western nations when it was discussed and was never formally introduced at the council for a vote.
Several U.N. diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the draft has not been made public, indicated it would likely face a similar uphill struggle today, pointing to North Korea’s continuing violations of U.N. sanctions.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said North Korea has failed to comply with sanctions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and the Biden administration “remains committed to the sanctions regime” and calls on all member states to enforce the measures.