Russia, China make UN proposal to ease N.Korea sanctions

Russia and China on Monday proposed easing sanctions against nuclear-armed North Korea, in response to steps the North takes towards denuclearization.
The proposal, in a draft resolution which surprised several diplomatic missions, came the same day Washington’s top representative in talks with North Korea criticized Pyongyang’s “hostile” statements.
The North is under heavy US and United Nations sanctions over its nuclear program, but it has been frustrated at the lack of relief after it declared a moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
The draft text said the Council “shall adjust the sanction measures towards the DPRK as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
It also underlined the necessity of having “the most favorable approach towards requests for exemptions from existing UN sanctions against the DPRK for humanitarian and livelihood purposes.”
The Russian and Chinese proposal did not detail exactly what North Korea will have to do in exchange for an easing of sanctions.
But in order to improve the lives of people in the impoverished North, the text called for an end to several significant measures which date from 2016 and 2017.
Russia and China want the UN to end the ban on its members importing fish products and textiles from North Korea.
They also call for an end to sanctions, imposed in 2017, that require UN members to send back by December 22 North Korean workers employed abroad.
Those workers are an important source of revenue for the regime.
The Russia-China text also calls for inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects to be exempt from existing UN sanctions.
Three pages of annexes to the draft resolution list products to be removed from sanctions lists. Among them are bulldozers, small tractors, small metal items including scissors, bicycles, as well as washing machines for clothes and dishes. China and Russia, which had cautiously backed pressure against North Korea after its past nuclear tests, had indicated last week they would reject further sanctions.–DT

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