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China and Russia are currently pushing the United Nations Security Council to ease sanctions on North Korea by reviving a 2019 attempt to remove a ban on Pyongyang’s exports of statues, seafood and textiles, and expanding it to include lifting a refined petroleum imports cap.
In a reworked draft resolution on Monday, China and Russia want the 15-member council to remove those sanctions ‘with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population’ in the isolated Asian state.
Africa Daily News, New York recalls that North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
The draft resolution also captures other measures first proposed by Russia and China nearly two years ago, including lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad and exempting inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects from sanctions.
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Several UN diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the refreshed draft resolution would find little support.
In 2019, Russia and China held two informal rounds of talks on the draft resolution, but never formally tabled it for a vote.
Diplomats said on Monday that China and Russia have not yet scheduled any talks on their new draft resolution.
A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China to pass.
A spokesperson for the US mission to the UN declined to comment on private council discussions but added that all UN members should be focused on addressing those who are violating the sanctions already in place.
North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The UN Security Council does already allow for humanitarian exemptions.
A UN rights investigator last month called for sanctions to be eased as North Korea’s most vulnerable risk starvation after it slipped deeper into isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sanctions that Russia and China have proposed lifting target industries that earned North Korea hundreds of millions of dollars in the past. They were put in place in 2016 and 2017 to try to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK