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Analysis

What really happened in Security Council: China REJECTED oil embargo on North Korea

China to continue supplying North Korea with crude oil at previous levels; will continue cross border trade

Alexander Mercouris

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It is now clear that ever since North Korea carried out its Hwasong 15 ICBM launch complex three party negotiations between the US, China and Russia have been underway in great secrecy in order to agree a further sanctions resolution in the UN Security Council against North Korea.

Almost certainly the two recent telephone conversations between US President Trump and Russian President Putin have touched on this.

The unusual secrecy in which the negotiations were conducted meant that when the sanctions resolution was finally agreed and was voted for unanimously by the UN Security Council it came as something of a surprise.

In the run up to the vote the US had however been making fully clear what sort of pressure it wanted the UN Security Council and China specifically to impose on North Korea: a total embargo on all supplies of oil to North Korea along with a naval blockade and an effective cessation of all trade between North Korea and the outside world.

The important point to take away from the UN Security Council meeting is that China again rejected these demands.

Here it is important to make a number of points about China’s deliveries of crude oil to North Korea.

Firstly, crude oil is about the only product North Korea needs to import in order to keep its economy going which it cannot produce itself.  I say this though it is known that North Korea has been stockpiling crude oil in anticipation of a possible future embargo of crude oil deliveries to itself and would probably be able to keep its economy going for some time albeit at a reduced rate if crude oil were indeed cut off.

By contrast North Korea is able to refine crude oil and can sustain its economy if refined oil products such as petroleum are cut off, provided it continues to be supplied with crude oil in sufficient quantity.

I would add briefly and in parenthesis that the Germans in the 1930s perfected a technology for making synthetic oil from coal, which North Korea produces itself and of which it has no shortage.  The procedure is however complicated and expensive and comes with environmental cost.  There is no information that North Korea has copied it, though presumably over time it could do so.

Secondly, all crude oil which North Korea imports comes from China.

Thirdly, it appears that China does not actually require payment from North Korea for this crude oil, which is provided essentially as a gift.

The text of the latest sanctions resolution voted for unanimously by the UN Security Council is provided at the end of this article.

Its key provision is paragraph 4 which caps crude oil deliveries to North Korea at four million barrels for any twelve month period.  Not only does this however fall well short of a total oil embargo.  It is the same amount that China supplied to North Korea last year.

In other words China has again rejected the US demand for a total oil embargo, and specifically for a total embargo on all crude oil supplies.

Moreover the text of the resolution shows that China has also rejected the US demand for a naval blockade of North Korea.  Instead a complex system of inspections of North Korean ships  suspected of trading in prohibited products has been introduced, which however will be subject to ultimate supervision by the UN Security Council itself.

In addition it is clear that cross border trader between China and North Korean private traders, which has become increasingly important for the North Korean economy, will continue as before.

The resolution will however significantly toughen economic conditions in North Korea.  The key point is that though North Korea is able to refine its own petroleum, it must now do so from the crude oil it imports, which is now capped at last year’s levels.

The point is explained clearly in a commentary by China’s official Xinhua news agency

The resolution sets a ceiling of 500,000 barrels for the import of refined petroleum to the DPRK during a 12-month period beginning from Jan. 1, 2018.

That reduces the country’s import of refined oil by almost 90 percent, and is a reduction from the 4.5 million barrels it imported in 2016, as well as a 2 million-barrel limit stipulated in a September resolution.

The resolution also restricts the DPRK’s crude oil imports to no more than 4 million barrels a year and requests that countries supplying oil to Pyongyang provide a quarterly report to the Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions.

The U.S.-drafted resolution refrains from banning all oil imports for the Northeastern Asian nation, something the administration of President Donald Trump has threatened many times amid Pyongyang’s non-stop provocative actions.

In summary, China will supply to North Korea sufficient crude oil to enable North Korea to sustain its civilian economy.  However by ending all but a small quantity of North Korea’s imports of petroleum and refined oil products China is trying to force North Korea to choose between sustaining its civilian economy or its military, which like all militaries everywhere is a major user of petroleum products.

The calculation appears to be that North Korea will soon run out of sufficient refined oil products such as petroleum to do both, and that rather than risk its civilian economy it will cut back on its military and its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme, which is itself a heavy user of refined oil products.

That this is indeed China’s calculation is explained in detail by an editorial in the semi official Chinese English language newspaper Global Times.

Chinese society says no to North Korea’s development of nuclear technologies but also feels sympathetic toward North Korean people that suffer the hardships. We hope the sanctions only target its nuclear development and missile activities. We do not want to hurt people’s livelihoods or impair the stability of the regime.

The problem is that this calculation may prove wrong.  On this issue there now appears to be a difference between China and Russia, with the Russians warning that no amount of sanctions will ever persuade the North Koreans to give up on their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme.

The Russians are almost certainly right.  Not only have the North Koreans shown a complete unwillingness to compromise on their ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme up to now, but with that programme now very close to success, with the Hwasong-15 apparently capable of reaching any part of the continental US, and with North Korea apparently very close to miniaturising a thermonuclear warhead for it, North Korea has no real incentive to draw back now.

Perhaps in a year’s time, when the key elements of the programme are completed, it may do so, but having got so far there seems little point in doing so now.

The question is what happens if North Korea presses ahead?  Global Times makes China’s concerns clear

Chinese society says no to North Korea’s development of nuclear technologies but also feels sympathetic toward North Korean people that suffer the hardships. We hope the sanctions only target its nuclear development and missile activities. We do not want to hurt people’s livelihoods or impair the stability of the regime. Beijing has endured mounting pressure from Washington.

Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to use force against it and change the political situation in North Korea and the Korean Peninsula. It is hoped that Washington and Pyongyang can discover their common interests.

The new resolution is extremely harsh. It may be the last hope for a desperate situation on the peninsula. South Korea recently said it could suspend joint military drills with the US until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018. It is hoped Pyongyang gets the message and responds positively.

A peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis is becoming more costly for both North Korea and the US.

This suggests that the Chinese see the resolution as the last chance to avoid war.  If so, and if that is right, then since there is practically no chance of North Korea drawing back war is indeed coming.

The full text of Security Council resolution 2397 (2017) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolution 825 (1993), resolution 1695 (2006), resolution 1718 (2006), resolution 1874 (2009), resolution 1887 (2009), resolution 2087 (2013), resolution 2094 (2013), resolution 2270 (2016), resolution 2321 (2016), resolution 2356 (2017), resolution 2371 (2017), resolution 2375 (2017), as well as the statements of its President of 6 October 2006 (document S/PRST/2006/41), 13 April 2009 (document S/PRST/2009/7), 16 April 2012 (document S/PRST/2012/13), and 29 August 2017 (document  S/PRST/2017/16),

Reaffirming that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Expressing its gravest concern at the ballistic missile launch by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 28 November 2017 in violation of resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), and 2375 (2017) and at the challenge such a test constitutes to the Treaty on Non‑Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and to international efforts aimed at strengthening the global regime of non‑proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the danger it poses to peace and stability in the region and beyond,

Underlining once again the importance that the DPRK respond to other security and humanitarian concerns of the international community, including the necessity of the DPRK respecting and ensuring the welfare, inherent dignity, and rights of people in the DPRK, and expressing great concern that the DPRK continues to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by diverting critically needed resources away from the people in the DPRK at tremendous cost when they have great unmet needs,

Acknowledging that the proceeds of the DPRK’s trade in sectoral goods, including but not limited to coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, textiles, seafood, gold, silver, rare earth minerals and other prohibited metals, as well as the revenue generated from DPRK workers overseas, among others, contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs,

Expressing its gravest concern that the DPRK’s ongoing nuclear- and ballistic missile‑related activities have destabilized the region and beyond, and determining that there continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and taking measures under Article 41,

“1.   Condemns in the strongest terms the ballistic missile launch conducted by the DPRK on 28 November 2017 in violation and flagrant disregard of the Security Council’s resolutions;

“2.   Reaffirms its decisions that the DPRK shall not conduct any further launches that use ballistic missile technology, nuclear tests, or any other provocation; shall immediately suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program and in this context re‑establish its pre‑existing commitments to a moratorium on all missile launches; shall immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and immediately cease all related activities; and shall abandon any other existing weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner;

Designations

“3.   Decides that the measures specified in paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall apply also to the individuals and entities listed in annex I and II of this resolution and to any individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, and to entities owned or controlled by them, including through illicit means, and decides further that the measures specified in paragraph 8(e) of resolution 1718 (2006) shall also apply to the individuals listed in annex I of this resolution and to individuals acting on their behalf or at their direction;

Sectoral

“4.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles and whether or not originating in their territories, of all crude oil, unless the Committee approves in advance on a case‑by‑case basis a shipment of crude oil which is exclusively for livelihood purposes of DPRK nationals and unrelated to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, further decides that this prohibition shall not apply with respect to crude oil that, for a period of twelve months after the date of adoption of this resolution, and for 12-month periods thereafter, does not exceed 4 million barrels or 525,000 tons in the aggregate per twelve month period, and decides that all Member States providing crude oil shall provide a report to the Committee every 90 days from the date of adoption of this resolution of the amount of crude oil provided to the DPRK;

“5.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles, and whether or not originating in their territories, of all refined petroleum products, decides that the DPRK shall not procure such products, further decides that this provision shall not apply with respect to procurement by the DPRK or the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles, and whether or not originating in their territories, of refined petroleum products, including diesel and kerosene, in the aggregate amount of up to 500,000 barrels during a period of twelve months beginning on January 1, 2018, and for twelve month periods thereafter, provided that (a) the Member State notifies the Committee every thirty days of the amount of such supply, sale, or transfer to the DPRK of refined petroleum products along with information about all the parties to the transaction, (b) the supply, sale, or transfer of refined petroleum products involve no individuals or entities that are associated with the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, including designated individuals or entities, or individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or entities owned or controlled by them, directly or indirectly, or individuals or entities assisting in the evasion of sanctions, and (c) the supply, sale, or transfer of refined petroleum products are exclusively for livelihood purposes of DPRK nationals and unrelated to generating revenue for the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programmes or other activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 75 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached, also directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 90 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached, and further directs the Committee Secretary beginning on 1 January 2018 to notify all Member States when an aggregate amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK of 95 per cent of the aggregate yearly amounts have been reached and to inform them that they must immediately cease selling, supplying, or transferring refined petroleum products to the DPRK for the remainder of the year, directs the Committee to make publicly available on its website the total amount of refined petroleum products sold, supplied, or transferred to the DPRK by month and by source country, directs the Committee to update this information on a real-time basis as it receives notifications from Member States, calls upon all Member States to regularly review this website to comply with the annual limits for refined petroleum products established by this provision beginning on 1 January 2018, directs the Panel of Experts to closely monitor the implementation efforts of all Member States to provide assistance and ensure full and global compliance, and requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to this effect and provide additional resources in this regard;

“6.   Decides that the DPRK shall not supply, sell or transfer, directly or indirectly, from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft, food and agricultural products (HS codes 12, 08, 07), machinery (HS code 84), electrical equipment (HS code 85), earth and stone including magnesite and magnesia (HS code 25), wood (HS code 44), and vessels (HS code 89), and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of the above-mentioned commodities and products from the DPRK by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, whether or not originating in the territory of the DPRK, clarifies that the full sectoral ban on seafood in paragraph 9 of resolution 2371 (2017) prohibits the DPRK from selling or transferring, directly or indirectly, fishing rights, and further decides that for sales of and transactions involving all commodities and products from the DPRK whose transfer, supply, or sale by the DPRK are prohibited by this paragraph and for which written contracts have been finalized prior to the adoption of this resolution, all States may only allow those shipments to be imported into their territories up to 30 days from the date of adoption of this resolution with notification provided to the Committee containing details on those imports by no later than 45 days after the date of adoption of this resolution;

“7.   Decides that all Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels, aircraft, pipelines, rail lines, or vehicles and whether or not originating in their territories, of all industrial machinery (HS codes 84 and 85), transportation vehicles (HS codes 86 through 89), and iron, steel, and other metals (HS codes 72 through 83) and further decides that this provision shall not apply with respect to the provision of spare parts needed to maintain the safe operation of DPRK commercial civilian passenger aircraft (currently consisting of the following aircraft models and types: An-24R/RV, An-148-100B, Il-18D, Il-62M, Tu-134B-3, Tu-154B, Tu-204-100B, and Tu-204-300);

“8.   Expresses concern that DPRK nationals continue to work in other States for the purpose of generating foreign export earnings that the DPRK uses to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs despite the adoption of paragraph 17 of resolution 2375 (2017), decides that Member States shall repatriate to the DPRK all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction and all DPRK government safety oversight attachés monitoring DPRK workers abroad immediately but no later than 24 months from the date of adoption of this resolution unless the Member State determines that a DPRK national is a national of that Member State or a DPRK national whose repatriation is prohibited, subject to applicable national and international law, including international refugee law and international human rights law, and the United Nations Headquarters Agreement and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, and further decides that all Member States shall provide a midterm report by 15 months from the date of adoption of this resolution of all DPRK nationals earning income in that Member State’s jurisdiction that were repatriated over the 12 month period starting from the date of adoption of this resolution, including an explanation of why less than half of such DPRK nationals were not repatriated by the end of that 12 month period if applicable, and all Member States shall provide final reports by 27 months from the date of adoption of this resolution;

Maritime Interdiction of Cargo Vessels

“9.   Notes with great concern that the DPRK is illicitly exporting coal and other prohibited items through deceptive maritime practices and obtaining petroleum illegally through ship-to-ship transfers and decides that Member States shall seize, inspect, and freeze (impound) any vessel in their ports, and may seize, inspect, and freeze (impound) any vessel subject to its jurisdiction in its territorial waters, if the Member State has reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, encourages Member States to consult with the flag States of relevant vessels once they are seized, inspected, and frozen (impounded), and further decides that, after six months from the date such vessels were frozen (impounded), this provision shall not apply if the Committee decides, on a case-by-case basis and upon request of a flag State, that adequate arrangements have been made to prevent the vessel from contributing to future violations of these resolutions;

“10.  Decides that when a Member State has information to suspect that the DPRK is attempting to supply, sell, transfer or procure, directly or indirectly, illicit cargo, that Member State may request additional maritime and shipping information from other relevant Member States, including to determine whether the item, commodity, or product in question originated from the DPRK, further decides that all Member States receiving such inquiries shall respond as promptly as possible to such requests in an appropriate manner, decides that the Committee, with the support of its Panel of Experts, shall facilitate timely coordination of such information requests through an expedited process, and requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary arrangements to this effect and provide additional resources to the Committee and the Panel of Experts in this regard;

“11.  Reaffirms paragraph 22 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that each Member State shall prohibit its nationals, persons subject to its jurisdiction and entities incorporated in its territory or subject to its jurisdiction from providing insurance or re-insurance services to vessels it has reasonable grounds to believe were involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution, unless the Committee determines on a case-by-case basis that the vessel is engaged in activities exclusively for livelihood purposes which will not be used by DPRK individuals or entities to generate revenue or exclusively for humanitarian purposes;

“12.  Reaffirms paragraph 24 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that each Member State shall de-register any vessel it has reasonable grounds to believe was involved in activities, or the transport of items, prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution and prohibit its nationals, persons subject to its jurisdiction and entities incorporated in its territory or subject to its jurisdiction from thereafter providing classification services to such a vessel except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis, and further decides that Member States shall not register any such vessel that has been de-registered by another Member State pursuant to this paragraph except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis;

“13.  Expresses concern that DPRK-flagged, controlled, chartered, or operated vessels intentionally disregard requirements to operate their automatic identification systems (AIS) to evade UNSCR sanctions monitoring by turning off such systems to mask their full movement history and calls upon Member States to exercise enhanced vigilance with regards to such vessels conducting activities prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution;

“14.  Recalls paragraph 30 of resolution 2321 (2016) and decides that all Member States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in their territories, of any new or used vessels, except as approved in advance by the Committee on a case-by-case basis;

“15.  Decides that, if a Member State has information regarding the number, name, and registry of vessels encountered in its territory or on the high seas that are designated by the Security Council or by the Committee as subject to the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006), the various measures imposed by paragraph 12 of resolution 2321 (2016), the port entry ban imposed by paragraph 6 of resolution 2371 (2017), or relevant measures in this resolution, then the Member State shall notify the Committee of this information and what measures were taken to carry out an inspection, an asset freeze and impoundment or other appropriate action as authorized by the relevant provisions of resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), or this resolution;

“16.  Decides that the provisions of this resolution shall not apply with respect solely to the trans-shipment of Russia-origin coal to other countries through the Russia-DPRK Rajin-Khasan port and rail project, as permitted by paragraph 8 of resolution 2371 (2017) and paragraph 18 of resolution 2375 (2017);

Sanctions Implementation

“17.  Decides that Member States shall report to the Security Council within ninety days of the adoption of this resolution, and thereafter upon request by the Committee, on concrete measures they have taken in order to implement effectively the provisions of this resolution, requests the Panel of Experts, in cooperation with other UN sanctions monitoring groups, to continue its efforts to assist Member States in preparing and submitting such reports in a timely manner;

“18.  Calls upon all Member States to redouble efforts to implement in full the measures in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution and to cooperate with each other in doing so, particularly with respect to inspecting, detecting and seizing items the transfer of which is prohibited by these resolutions;

“19.  Decides that the mandate of the Committee, as set out in paragraph 12 of resolution 1718 (2006), shall apply with respect to the measures imposed in this resolution and further decides that the mandate of the Panel of Experts, as specified in paragraph 26 of resolution 1874 (2009) and modified in paragraph 1 of resolution 2345 (2017), shall also apply with respect to the measures imposed in this resolution;

“20.  Decides to authorize all Member States to, and that all Member States shall, seize and dispose (such as through destruction, rendering inoperable or unusable, storage, or transferring to a State other than the originating or destination States for disposal) of items the supply, sale, transfer, or export of which is prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution that are identified in inspections, in a manner that is not inconsistent with their obligations under applicable Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1540 (2004), as well as any obligations of parties to the NPT, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Development of 29 April 1997, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction of 10 April 1972;

“21.  Emphasizes the importance of all States, including the DPRK, taking the necessary measures to ensure that no claim shall lie at the instance of the DPRK, or of any person or entity in the DPRK, or of persons or entities designated for measures set forth in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) or this resolution, or any person claiming through or for the benefit of any such person or entity, in connection with any contract or other transaction where its performance was prevented by reason of the measures imposed by this resolution or previous resolutions;

“22.  Emphasizes that the measures set forth in resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution shall in no way impede the activities of diplomatic or consular missions in the DPRK pursuant to the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations;

Political

“23.  Reiterates its deep concern at the grave hardship that the people in the DPRK are subjected to, condemnsthe DPRK for pursuing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles instead of the welfare of its people while people in the DPRK have great unmet needs, emphasizes the necessity of the DPRK respecting and ensuring the welfare and inherent dignity of people in the DPRK, and demands that the DPRK stop diverting its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at the cost of the people in the DPRK;

“24.  Regrets the DPRK’s massive diversion of its scarce resources toward its development of nuclear weapons and a number of expensive ballistic missile programs, notes the findings of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance that well over half of the people in the DPRK suffer from major insecurities in food and medical care, including a very large number of pregnant and lactating women and under-five children who are at risk of malnutrition and 41 per cent of its total population who are undernourished, and, in this context, expresses deep concern at the grave hardship to which the people in the DPRK are subjected;

“25.  Reaffirms that the measures imposed by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK or to affect negatively or restrict those activities, including economic activities and cooperation, food aid and humanitarian assistance, that are not prohibited by resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and this resolution, and the work of international and non‑governmental organizations carrying out assistance and relief activities in the DPRK for the benefit of the civilian population of the DPRK, stresses the DPRK’s primary responsibility and need to fully provide for the livelihood needs of people in the DPRK, and decides that the Committee may, on a case-by-case basis, exempt any activity from the measures imposed by these resolutions if the committee determines that such an exemption is necessary to facilitate the work of such organizations in the DPRK or for any other purpose consistent with the objectives of these resolutions;

“26.  Reaffirms its support for the Six Party Talks, calls for their resumption, and reiterates its support for the commitments set forth in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 issued by China, the DPRK, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States, including that the goal of the Six-Party Talks is the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and the return of the DPRK to the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards at an early date, bearing in mind the rights and obligations of States parties to the NPT and underlining the need for all States parties to the NPT to continue to comply with their Treaty obligations, that the United States and the DPRK undertook to respect each other’s sovereignty and exist peacefully together, that the Six Parties undertook to promote economic cooperation, and all other relevant commitments;

“27.  Reiterates the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in north-east Asia at large, and expresses its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation and welcomes efforts by the Council members as well as other States to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue and stresses the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond;

“28.  Affirms that it shall keep the DPRK’s actions under continuous review and is prepared to strengthen, modify, suspend or lift the measures as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance, and, in this regard, expresses its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK nuclear test or launch, and decides that, if the DPRK conducts a further nuclear test or a launch of a ballistic missile system capable of reaching intercontinental ranges or contributing to the development of a ballistic missile system capable of such ranges, then the Security Council will take action to restrict further the export to the DPRK of petroleum;

“29.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Annex I

Travel Ban/Asset Freeze (Individuals)

1.  CH’OE SO’K MIN

a.  Description:  Ch’oe So’k-min is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.  In 2016, Ch’oe So’k-min was the deputy representative at the Foreign Trade Bank branch office in that overseas location.  He has been associated with cash transfers from that overseas Foreign Trade Bank office to banks affiliated with North Korean special organizations and Reconnaissance General Bureau operatives located overseas in an effort to evade sanctions.

b.  AKA:  n/a

c.  Identifiers:  DOB: 25 July 1978; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

2.  CHU HYO’K

a.  Description:  Chu Hyo’k is a North Korean national who is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ju Hyok

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 23 November 1986; Passport No. 836420186 issued 28 October 2016 expires 28 October 2021; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

3.  KIM JONG SIK

a.  Description: A leading official guiding the DPRK’s WMD development efforts. Serving as Deputy Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Munitions Industry Department.

b.  A.K.A.: Kim Cho’ng-sik

c.  Identifiers: YOB: between 1967 and 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Address: DPRK

4.  KIM KYONG IL

a.  Description:  Kim Kyong Il is a Foreign Trade Bank deputy chief representative in Libya.

b.  AKA:  Kim Kyo’ng-il

c.  Identifiers:  Location Libya; DOB: 01 August 1979; Passport No. 836210029; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

5.  KIM TONG CHOL

a.  Description:  Kim Tong Chol is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Kim Tong-ch’o’l

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 28 January 1966; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

6.  KO CHOL MAN

a.  Description:  Ko Chol Man is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ko Ch’o’l-man

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 30 September 1967; Passport No. 472420180; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

7.  KU JA HYONG

a.  Description:  Ku Ja Hyong is a Foreign Trade Bank chief representative in Libya.

b.  AKA:  Ku Cha-hyo’ng

c.  Identifiers:  Location Libya; DOB: 08 September 1957; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

8.  MUN KYONG HWAN

a.  Description:  Mun Kyong Hwan is an overseas Bank of East Land representative.

b.  AKA:  Mun Kyo’ng-hwan

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 22 August 1967; Passport No. 381120660 expires 25 March 2016; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

9.  PAE WON UK

a.  Description:  Pae Won Uk is an overseas Daesong Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Pae Wo’n-uk

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 22 August 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Passport No. 472120208 expires 22 Feb 2017

10. PAK BONG NAM

a.  Description:  Pak Bong Nam is an overseas Ilsim International Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Lui Wai Ming; Pak Pong Nam; Pak Pong-nam

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 06 May 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

11. PAK MUN IL

a.  Description:  Pak Mun Il is an overseas official of Korea Daesong Bank.

b.  AKA: Pak Mun-il

c.  Identifiers: DOB 01 January 1965; Passport No. 563335509 expires 27 August 2018; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

12. RI CHUN HWAN

a.  Description:  Ri Chun Hwan is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ri Ch’un-hwan

c.  Identifiers: DOB 21 August 1957; Passport No. 563233049 expires 09 May 2018; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

13. RI CHUN SONG

a.  Description:  Ri Chun Song is an overseas Foreign Trade Bank representative.

b.  AKA:  Ri Ch’un-so’ng

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 30 October 1965; Passport No. 654133553 expires 11 March 2019; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

14. RI PYONG CHUL

a.  Description: Alternate Member of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea and First Vice Director of the Munitions Industry Department.

b.  A.K.A.: Ri Pyo’ng-ch’o’l

c.  Identifiers: YOB: 1948; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male; Address: DPRK

15. RI SONG HYOK

a.  Description:  Ri Song Hyok is an overseas representative for Koryo Bank and Koryo Credit Development Bank and has reportedly established front companies to procure items and conduct financial transactions on behalf of North Korea.

b.  AKA:  Li Cheng He

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 19 March 1965; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

16. RI U’N SO’NG

a.  Description:  Ri U’n-so’ng is an overseas Korea Unification Development Bank representative.

b.  AKA: Ri Eun Song; Ri Un Song

c.  Identifiers: DOB: 23 July 1969; Nationality: DPRK; Gender: male

Annex II

Asset Freeze (Entities)

1.    MINISTRY OF THE PEOPLE’S ARMED FORCES (MPAF)

a. Description: The Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces manages the general administrative and logistical needs of the Korean People’s Army.

b. Location: Pyongyang, DPRK

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

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Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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Americans: Are you represented in Congress by a stooge of Saudi Crown Prince Salman?

The Sauds’ plan is to saturation-bomb the narrow access-route that supplies all food into the Houthis’ region of Yemen so as to starve the Houthis to death and thereby enable Prince Salman’s stooge to run Yemen.

Eric Zuesse

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Submitted by Eric Zuesse:


You can find out here by clicking there to see how your Representative and your two Senators voted on the resolution to stop U.S. arming and aid to Prince Salman’s war to starve millions of Houthis to death. In neither house did the resolution pass with enough votes to be able to override Salman’s stooge Trump’s veto of it, and so our Government will continue to support this extermination.

The Sauds’ plan is to saturation-bomb the narrow access-route that supplies all food into the Houthis’ region of Yemen so as to starve the Houthis to death and thereby enable Prince Salman’s stooge to run Yemen.

This plan would have no chance to succeed if the U.S. withdrew its backing of and participation in it.

“If we suspend providing spare parts for their F-15s, their air force would be grounded in two weeks” — Robert Jordan, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia

In other words: this slaughter-campaign isn’t only Prince Salman’s, it is Trump’s, too. In fact, you can see the entire Saudi-led coalition that’s backing this extermination-campaign, by clicking here.

So: if your vote means anything at all, and if you voted for a Representative and/or for one or both of the Senators who backs stooge Trump on this extermination-campaign, then you, too, are actually supporting this exterminationist government — today’s U.S. Government — and not only supporting Crown Prince Salman’s effort to take over Yemen.

Back when Barack Obama was the U.S. President, there was bipartisan support in both houses of Congress for Prince Salman’s extermination-campaign in Yemen and therefore no such possibility for stopping it; but, now, as the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign is getting under way, Democrats especially have come out publicly against it, because the Republican President, Trump, is so strongly in favor of it, and so the Yemen-issue can help win the voters who want “Change.” Nonetheless, for example in the Senate, Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Todd Young, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, Susan Collins, Steve Daines, and Mike Lee, joined all Democratic Senators and both Independent Senators, in supporting this resolution, which the current, Republican, President, Trump, then vetoed, thus continuing the U.S. Government’s decades-long service as a vassal-nation to the Saud family — even if not also to Israel’s Government, as well. (Israel, of course, being far more favored by America’s voters than is Saudi Arabia, presents far more danger for members of Congress to oppose than Saudi Arabia does; and, so, there are no resolutions in Congress that challenge Israel as the current resolutions have been challenging Saudi Arabia. And even the congressional challenges to the Sauds might be basically for political show, rather than serious policy-positions.)

The present news-report, including its links that enable any reader to know where each of his/her supposed representatives (or else Saud-stooges) stand on this extermination-campaign, is being submitted simultaneously to all U.S. national news-media, so that Americans (or at least ones who are receiving honest news that’s linked to all its sources so that you can decide for yourself what the facts are) can become easily informed regarding the true character of the given citizen’s federal representatives. To vote in ignorance is slavery.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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