About the Author
Damin Jung was an NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked at the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) Korea Chair.
Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday claimed success in having revised what it claimed had initially been a UNSC sanctions resolution that had risked “disastrous” humanitarian consequences for North Korea.
“Through intensive work with China to coordinate the resolution text, [Russia] has succeeded in revising the U.S.’s super-hard resolution, which focused on defoliating North Korea’s economy and risked catastrophic humanitarian influence on North Korean,” the ministry said, in comments carried by Russia’s TASS and South Korea’s Yonhap.
“We proceed from the fact that sanctions against North Korea should be geared exclusively at pushing its authorities to abandon their missile and nuclear activities that are prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
UNSC on Monday unanimously passed new measures targeting North Korea’s textile industry, applies caps on the transfer of refined petroleum products and natural gas to the country, and blacklisting three major DPRK government bodies.
The measures were noticeably weaker, however than a draft resolution submitted by the U.S. and leaked to the press last week, which sought to ban oil exports to the DPRK, authorized member states to use force while inspecting suspicious North Korean vessels, and prohibited the hiring of DPRK laborers.
“Provisions concerning examination of suspicious ships at sea have been mitigated and brought in conformity with international law,” the Russian foreign ministry added. “The provision on forcible deportation of North Korean labor migrants has been abandoned.”
“The final resolution is not demanding sanctions against North Korea’s top leaders, the government and the Workers’ Party of Korea, neither is it imposing a complete ban on oil and oil products supplies in North Korea.”
The foreign ministry also said that Russia is willing to continue to work on the ongoing Rajin-Khasan logistics project, which seeks to develop a railway system to transport coal from the Russian port of Khasan to the North Korean port of Rajin.
Rajin-Khasan was initially a trilateral project between Russia, North Korea, and South Korea, but Seoul pulled out in March 2016 in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.
“As a result [of the revision], it has become possible to continue the implementation of the biggest Russian-Chinese coal transit project Hassan [Khasan]-Rajin,” the ministry said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun met for discussions on peninsula affairs in Moscow.
The Russian foreign ministry, in its statement after the meeting, reaffirmed Moscow’s stance that there is no alternative to “political and diplomatic solutions” for current tensions, adding “the framework of the Russian-Chinese roadmap for a Korean settlement was noted.”
North Korean ambassador to Russia Kim Hyong Jun also commented on the latest UNSC sanctions resolution 2375 at a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday.
“The current resolution – a product of vilest attempts to isolate – strongly violates our sovereignty and is a challenge for our state,” Kim said. “If the U.S. expects us to hesitate and change our stance, this is a big illusion.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Kremlin.ru