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U.S. sought speed in pursuit of latest N. Korea sanctions

By Junya Hashimoto / Yomiuri Shimbun CorrespondentNEW YORK — The latest North Korea sanctions resolution adopted Monday by the U.N. Security Council is powerful in that it restricts the nation’s oil imports for the first time.

The new resolution also reaches as far as the country’s textile sector — one of Pyongyang’s few export industries — after previous U.N. sanctions that completely banned items such as coal and iron ore.

The United States managed to secure a speedy adoption of the resolution in little over a week since North Korea’s nuclear test on Aug. 3 using unprecedented negotiation tactics such as forcing China and Russia to make a decision by unilaterally declaring the voting date.

“A very good one [resolution] has been made in just a week. It will definitely become the strongest set of sanctions,” Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Koro Bessho told reporters following the adoption of the resolution. In appreciating the resolution, the ambassador said the resolution will have a significant impact on Pyongyang’s acquisition of energy and foreign currency via measures such as placing a cap on its import of petroleum products and banning other countries from importing North Korean textiles.

The adoption of the resolution in just a week was unusual given that relevant resolutions in the past took one to two months to be adopted.

With past North Korean issues, the United States normally conducted back-channel negotiations with China and began distributing a draft resolution to Security Council member states following an agreement between the United States and China, which are both permanent members of the council.

For the latest resolution, however, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, at an emergency council meeting on Aug. 4, expressed her plan to distribute a draft in a short time frame and then put it to a vote on Monday. Subsequently, on Aug. 6, the United States distributed a draft to impose sanctions, including a complete oil embargo, to council members.

As described by media reports, the draft referred to tough steps such as expelling North Koreans working abroad and inspecting cargo ships — a measure that does not rule out resorting to military action.

The U.S. mission to the United Nations appears to have predicted reactions to the draft.

“A menu was presented on the table that set every consequence to the most extreme so the world was able to see what would happen,” said an official with knowledge of the development.

Washington also calculated that blatant resistance by China and Russia would be condemned by the international community.

The dominant view at the United Nations is that the latest resolution is quite significant as it will result in restricting oil supplies. A source at the U.S. mission suggested further provocations from Pyongyang may result in a complete embargo on refined petroleum products — on which the latest resolution has placed a cap — just as in the case of coal in the previous resolution.

Bessho also said “further measures may be considered” depending on what provocative actions North Korea may resort to, indicating scenarios of additional sanctions against the country are conceivable.Speech

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