United States said to water down North Korea sanctions draft before UN vote

A Nuclear Slap in China’s Face

The US and its allies have been calling for stern measures against North Korea since the September 3 nuclear test.

On Monday, the U.S. circulated a draft resolution that called for a full ban on exports of oil to North Korea and an asset freeze on leader Kim Jong Un, the Worker's Party and the government of North Korea.

The US has accused North Korea of "begging for war" and repeatedly urged China to step up pressure against its neighbor.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany conducted long-running talks with Iran that led to a 2015 deal for global sanctions to be lifted in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear activities.

Security Council diplomats, who weren't authorised to speak publicly because talks have been private, said the USA and China were still negotiating the text late Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Koreans would "eat grass" rather than give up nuclear weapons, while China is wary about cutting off Kim's economic lifeline to the point it risks collapsing his regime.

"I could also imagine such a format to settle the North Korea conflict", she said.

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Several diplomats said the United States demand for a speedy council vote was aimed at putting maximum pressure on China and reflected Washington's escalating concern over North Korea's latest nuclear test, which its leaders touted as a hydrogen bomb, and its recent ballistic missile launch over Japan. U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson has called on the worldwide community to suspend the flow of North Korean guest workers, who earn between $1.5 billion and $2.3 billion a year-much of which is sent back to the regime. China is North Korea's main ally and by far its biggest trading partner, including for oil shipments.

It would ban all textile exports and prohibit all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers - two key sources of hard currency.

The revised draft resolution drops the proposed oil embargo and instead caps shipments of refined petroleum products at 2 million barrels a year while limiting crude oil exports to North Korea to current levels, the diplomat said.

The original USA draft would also have frozen the assets of North Korea's state-owned airline Air Koryo, the Korean People's Army and five other powerful military and party entities.

Over the weekend, leaders in Germany and France waded into the escalating crisis.

It also adds language underscoring the Security Council's commitment to North Korea's sovereignty and territorial integrity, to "a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation", and "its concern that developments on the Korean Peninsula could have risky, large-scale regional security implications".

It retains language on the council's "determination to take further significant measures" in the event of a new nuclear test or ballistic missile launch.

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