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13 Setiembre 2017, 08:42 | Crisanna Felipe
Putin Says At This Point, Sanctions Against North Korea Are 'Useless'
The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea, slapping a ban on textile exports and restricting shipments of oil products to punish Pyongyang for its sixth and largest nuclear test.
Lawmakers who spoke Tuesday supported the US pressure tactics, while voicing skepticism that North Korea could be forced into abandon nuclear weapons it regards as a guarantee of survival for the Kim dynasty. "We are now acting to stop it from having the ability to continue doing the wrong thing", the Indian-origin diplomat said.
The first US -penned resolution was weakened following negotiations primarily between the United States and China, which is Pyongyang's closest ally and trading partner, with Beijing apparently anxious that stopping the flow of crude oil could disrupt the lives of ordinary North Korean people.
But Kang added both the US and South Korea believed in following a policy of "responding firmly (to) provocations through tough sanctions while leaving the door open for dialogue". The sense of urgency is heightened in Washington, as the USA suddenly finds itself potentially in range of Kim Jong-un's nuclear weapons, whereas China and North Korea's other neighbours have lived with that threat for years.
Under the measure, countries are authorized to inspect ships suspected of carrying banned North Korean cargo but must first seek the consent of the flag-state.
The eventual sanctions also did not include an asset freeze on either North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the country's only commercial airline, Air Koryo, both which were originally included by the U.S.
In a report on Monday, researchers at security firm FireEye said they observed threat actors linked to Pyongyang have targeted at least three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges since May this year to steal funds.
Japan and South Korea said after the passage of the US-drafted Security Council resolution they were prepared to apply more pressure if Pyongyang refused to end its aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
The US official said the ban on textile exports would deprive North Korea of some $726 million in annual revenue.
"In North Korea they will eat grass but still not give up this [nuclear and ballistic missile] program", said Putin.
Another senior administration conceded the new sanctions would not be enough in themselves to change North Korea's behaviour, but would help measure compliance with United Nations restrictions by other countries.
North Korea has lashed out against "illegal" sanctions imposed by the United Nations and vowed to retaliate by putting the United States through the "greatest pain".
McCain said on Sunday the relocation of tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea "should be seriously considered", during an appearance on Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union".
North Korea's Foreign Ministry issued a statement early Monday saying it was watching the United States' moves closely and warned that it was "ready and willing" to respond with measures of its own. "We will also be undertaking prompt steps to implement the new resolution and the measures it contains".
"We don't take pleasure in further strengthening sanctions today", said Haley.
China, North Korea's top trading partner, is not eager to endorse sanctions that could undermine Pyongyang stability and cause millions of refugees to cross its border. A presidential spokesman in South Korea said he thinks it's significant that China and Russian Federation agreed on the measure.
Undaunted by the global criticism of its test, which Pyongyang says was of a hydrogen bomb, Pyongyang celebrated through the weekend, with concerts and banquets for the country's nuclear scientists and engineers.
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The latest sanctions also ban joint ventures with North Koreans, along with technology transfers and other economic cooperation. The UN has imposed seven rounds of sanctions against North Korea since 2006, but smugglers have managed to get around the bans.
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