U.N. Security Council to vote Monday on weakened North Korea sanctions

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Monday to impose new sanctions on North Korea over its largest nuclear bomb test, after the United States watered-down the text of a resolution to appease China and Russia.


A week ago, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the “strongest possible” sanctions on North Korea and had sought an oil embargo on Pyongyang.


But after negotiations in recent days, mainly among the council’s veto powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – the revised draft appears to resemble another incremental increase in sanctions on Pyongyang.


Compared to the initial U.S.-draft, given to all 15 council members on Wednesday, the new text would still impose a ban on North Korea’s textile exports, but it no longer blacklists leader Kim Jong Un or the country’s national airline. And instead of cutting off Pyongyang’s oil supply, the council would only cap crude oil exports to the country at the current level.


When asked if the changes would be enough to win over Russia and North Korean ally China, British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said on Monday: “Yes. I hope so.”


“There is a significant prize in keeping the whole of the Security Council united,” he told reporters. “The version on the table is strong, it is robust.”


A Security Council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass. The council has unanimously adopted eight resolutions since 2006 gradually ratcheting up sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.


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