North Korea crisis



The US has proposed a range of new United Nations sanctions against North Korea, including an oil ban and a freeze on leader Kim Jong-un's assets. The draft resolution circulated to the Security Council members comes after North Korea's sixth nuclear test and repeated missile launches. Pyongyang also claims to have developed a hydrogen bomb and continues to threaten to strike the US. China and Russia are both expected to oppose further sanctions. North Korea is already under highly restrictive sanctions imposed by the UN that are intended to force the leadership to curtail its weapons programmes. In August, a new round of sanctions banned exports including coal, costing North Korea an estimated $1bn (£767m) - about a third of its entire export economy. But some trade avenues remain open to it. The draft US proposal calls for a total ban on supplying a range of oil products to North Korea and a ban on its textile export industry. It also suggests freezing the assets of Mr Kim and the North Korean government, as well as banning him and other senior officials from travelling. North Korean labourers would also be banned from working abroad, principally in Russia's Far East and China. Remittances from foreign earnings and textile exports are two of the most important remaining sources of income for North Korea. China is both North Korea's and the US's biggest trade partner, and has supported recent sanctions against it. Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that the amount of oil his country exports to North Korea some 40,000 tonnes is negligible. Both China and Russia have been pushing for an alternative solution. North Korea is proposing that the US and ally South Korea stop their military drills which anger the North and end the deployment of the controversial anti-missile Thad system in South Korea, in return for Pyongyang ceasing its nuclear and missile programme. The proposal has been rejected by the US and South Korea. US President Donald Trump had previously warned the US could cut off trade with countries that do business with North Korea. The US has indicated that if the resolution is not passed when the Security Council meets it may impose its own sanctions unilaterally.
 Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that Mr Xi called for a "peaceful settlement of the issue" involving "dialogue combined with a set of comprehensive measures". A day after predicting "global catastrophe" if North Korea's nuclear tests lead to anything other than talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the situation may be "impossible" to resolve. Putin made the comments after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia. Putin repeated his assertion that sanctions and pressure won't be enough to rein in North Korea. Without the political and diplomatic tools, it is extremely difficult to move the situation around. And to be more precise, I think it is impossible at all," he added. Tensions over North Korea's nuclear program intensified this week after Pyongyang's boast Sunday that had it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be mounted on a missile."If North Korea's provocation doesn't stop here, I think could fall into an uncontrollable situation."Russia has played a much more visible role in the North Korea crisis since the nuclear test. We should be cold-blooded and we should avoid steps to escalate tension. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the international community to hold fresh talks to try to resolve the North Korean crisis, warning that progress would be "impossible" without a commitment to dialogue."It is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean Peninsula only by sanctions and pressure," Putin told reporters at a joint news conference with South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in. Speaking in the Russian city of Vladivostok, Putin condemned North Korea's ongoing nuclear and missile program, describing the tests as a flagrant violation of UN rules.
The isolated regime has conducted missile tests in recent weeks amid escalating international unease.  Pyongyang detonated its sixth - and largest ever - nuclear explosion. Russia, which shares a border with North Korea, has repeatedly called for negotiations with Pyongyang, suggesting that the U.S. and South Korea should discontinue all war games in exchange for North Korea halting its testing program. Putin said imposing tougher sanctions on Pyongyang would be counter-productive and said threats of military action could prompt a "global catastrophe."