Merkel backs tougher UN sanctions against North Korea call with Putin


It also includes a ban on North Korean textile exports, which was the country's second largest export category in 2016 after coal and other minerals, and is expected to reduce its revenues by up to $800 million.

The measures were approved unanimously on Monday.

Last Tuesday, the USA circulated a draft resolution proposing the toughest-ever United Nations sanctions on North Korea, including a ban on all oil and natural gas exports to the country and a freeze on all foreign financial assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.

That could be a significant restriction.

The US compromised. Resolution 2375 merely imposes a cap, at current levels, on crude oil exports to North Korea. So the 2 million barrel cap could be cutting existing imports 10 per cent, or slashing them by more than half. Some experts, however, doubt the oil and fuel component on the sanctions will have much impact.

Then on September 3, North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear weapon in its hydrogen bomb. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is certainly keeping the door open to diplomacy, but he's focused on this sanctions track for now - the pressure side - so that if talks eventually get going, the US will go into it with some more leverage.

However, few diplomats or observers believed the punitive measures alone would force Kim Jong-un's regime to stop its nuclear and missile tests.

"The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of North Korea) is closely following the moves of the USA with vigilance".

Merkel is widely seen in Germany as a safe pair of hands at a time of global uncertainty such as the North Korea crisis, Britain's looming departure from the European Union and Donald Trump's presidency in the United States.

Russia's influence in North Korea isn't exactly new as the country has always supported the secretive state in some capacity.

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While Russian President Vladimir Putin had recently criticized the U.S. for ramping up pressure on North Korea, Moscow signed onto the recent United Nations sanctions, with ambassador Vassily Nebenzia saying after the vote that Russia "does not accept the claims of (North Korea) to become a nuclear state".

Biswas noted, however, that the situation with China remains both crucial and complicated.

"We know that Chinese banks, specifically the Bank of China, are more likely than not helping the North Koreans launder money and help them process financial transactions".

One metric ton is roughly equal to roughly seven barrels of crude oil. "The North Korean regime has not yet passed the point of no return".

Following the vote, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley portrayed North Korea as increasingly isolated.

Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated Monday if the United States "implements sanctions against North Korea at the U.N. Security Council, there will be a price to pay".

The new measures are sure to cause North Korea more economic pain. The measures also clamp down on joint ventures, which could stifle the North's ability to trade and to acquire capital and know-how.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce urged Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis last week to step up the imposition of USA sanctions on Chinese entities that help enable North Korea's illicit activities, according to a column carried in the Monday edition of The Washington Post.

The U.S., U.K. and France are united on the latest proposal, but it's unclear whether Russian Federation and China - the other veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council - will back the text as it stands, according to a European diplomat who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

In the wake of the country's sixth nuclear test, North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for its new ICBM, which can effectively strike parts, if not most, of the continental U.S. While it is hard to know for certain, it would appear that the North is "locked and loaded" for intercontinental strikes if it needed to do so.