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UN Security Council to Vote after US Softens North Korea Sanctions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Friendship Bridge that connects Sinuiju and the the Chinese city of Dandong, is the conduit for much of the trade between North Korea and China (AFP Photo/GREG BAKER)

The United Nations Security Council will vote Monday on a draft resolution imposing new sanctions on North Korea after the United States toned down its demands in a bid to win support from Russia and China.

The United had originally pushed for a strict oil embargo, as well as a freeze on the foreign assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

According to AFP, Washington has led the international drive to punish the rogue state after it detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear device.

Crude oil supplies would be capped at their current level. A new draft text circulated late Sunday maintains an embargo on natural gas but would limit deliveries of refined oil to 500,000 barrels for three months from October 1 and 2 million barrels from January 1 for a period of 12 months, according to the text obtained by AFP.

The United States dropped demands that Kim be added to a UN sanctions blacklist, hitting the North Korean leader with an assets freeze and global travel ban.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft described the revised draft as “very robust” and suggested that the changes were aimed at averting a possible veto from Russia or China.

“There is a significant prize in keeping the whole of the Security Council united,” Rycroft told reporters.

The vote will be held at 6 pm and diplomats did not rule out further minor changes in the coming hours.

The proposed resolution would slap a ban on textile exports from North Korea, but drop demands for a full halt to payments of North Korea laborers working abroad.

Countries that have provided work permits for the North Koreans are asked to report to the United Nations the number of guest workers they have employed and the date for ending those contracts.

Among other concessions the new text also softens the inspection by force of North Korean ships suspected of carrying cargo prohibited by the UN and drops a proposed assets freeze on the state-owned Air Koryo airline.

In another move to address Russian and Chinese concerns, the latest draft resolution expresses support for efforts to resolve the crisis through dialogue and highlights the need to “ensure lasting stability in northeast Asia.”

Britain and France — permanent veto-wielding Security Council members along with the US, China and Russia — have given Washington their strong backing.

China, the North’s main ally and key energy supplier, and Russia have not clearly said whether they would support the new raft of sanctions.

“We have been clear in close consultation with the Americans that oil has to be included as an element of sanctions,” South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-Wha told reporters.