UN sanctions against N.Korea must be tightened: France

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The UN Security Council should tighten sanctions against North Korea in response to the latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), France's ambassador said Wednesday.

The council will hold an emergency meeting later Wednesday to discuss a response and could decide to begin negotiations on a new draft sanctions resolution.

The United States has called for additional UN measures to pressure Pyongyang to halt its missile and nuclear programs, which are in violation of UN resolutions.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters that there should be "full implementation" of current measures "but also tightening of the sanctions," which would require a new resolution.

Over the past year, the council has adopted three rounds of sanctions aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang's military programs.

These include a ban on North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, trade restrictions and the blacklisting of a number of North Korean entities and officials.

The council has also banned the hiring of North Korean guest workers and capped oil exports, in particular from China, Pyongyang's main trading partner.

"There is still room for new measures," Italian Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who holds the council presidency, told reporters on Tuesday. "We will see."

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is barred from developing missiles and a nuclear weapons capability but Pyongyang argues that the arsenal is needed for self-defense against the "hostile" United States.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said on Twitter after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping that "additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today."

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained in Washington that the sanctions would be announced by the US Treasury and would target "additional financial institutions."

Previous sanctions resolutions targeting North Korea have been unanimously adopted by the council following weeks of negotiations between the United States and China.

The last resolution, however, was adopted on September 11 after just one week of negotiations.

The United States and its allies insist that tough sanctions are needed to force Pyongyang to come to the negotiating table to discuss an end to its military drive.

Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said "the international community has to keep the pressure up so that North Koreans will understand that they need to change their course."