Merkel backs tougher United Nations sanctions against N.Korea call with Putin

Pauline Gross
September 13, 2017

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea in a watered-down resolution without an oil import ban or global asset freeze on the government and leader Kim Jong Un that the Trump administration wanted.

South Korea's opposition Bareun Party lawmaker Ha TaeKyung, who has followed North Korean hacking attempts, said it had apparently stolen more than 90 billion won (USD 80 million) from South Korea through hacking attacks in the four years to June, including cyber-attacks on ATMs.

Despite the watering down of the resolution, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said after the vote that "these are by far the strongest measures ever imposed on North Korea", which will "only work if all nations implement them completely and aggressively", according to the Associated Press.

Germany would lend its weight to a diplomatic push to end North Korean nuclear weapons and missile development along the lines of a past deal with Iran, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

But there's another problem, Kelly, and that's the North Koreans don't look eager to talk.

North Korea is suspected of intensifying cyber-attacks to steal virtual currency in order to obtain funds and avert tightening sanctions, according to security experts.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later".

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He was quoted by the BBC, saying: "If everyone was on it like [defender] Christopher Schindler was today, we would have had a better chance to get a result".

Both Russia and China reiterated their proposal that the US and South Korea freeze all military drills - which anger North Korea - and asked for a halt in the deployment of the controversial anti-missile system Thaad, in exchange for Pyongyang's cessation of its weapons programmes. The hackers have also been tied by other security firms to last year's attack on Samsung Electronics Co.'s corporate messenger app and, most prominently, the breach of Sony Corp.'s film studio, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation blamed on North Korea.

What happened next? On 3 September, North Korea said it tested a hydrogen bomb that could be miniaturised and loaded on a long-range missile.

This ban will eventually starve the regime of an additional United States dollars 500 million or more in annual revenues, she added.

The resolution also calls on states to inspect vessels on the high seas, with consent of the flag state, if they have reasonable grounds to believe the ships are carrying prohibited cargo. More recently this has typically taken one to three months.

MCEVERS: Was it surprising that the US backed off in this way?

This will not only starve the regime of any revenues generated through such arrangements, it will now stop all future foreign investments and technology transfers to help North Korea's nascent and weak commercial industries, a United States fact sheet said.

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