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US seeks Kim Jong-un assets freeze

US seeks Kim Jong-un assets freeze

The US has proposed a range of new UN sanctions against North Korea, including an oil ban and a freeze on the country’s leader Kim Jong-un’s assets.

The draft resolution circulated to the Security Council members came after North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and repeated missile launches, BBC reported.

Pyongyang also claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb and continues to threaten to strike the US. China and Russia were both expected to oppose further sanctions, the report said.

North Korea is already under highly restrictive sanctions imposed by the UN that were 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 $1 billion — about a third of its entire export economy. The draft US proposal called for a total ban on supplying a range of oil products to North Korea and a ban on its textile export industry.

It also suggested freezing the assets of 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.

But the US is expected to face opposition from China and Russia, which both supply oil to North Korea and wield vetoes at the Security Council. Both the countries have been pushing for an alternative solution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has argued that the amount of oil his country exports to North Korea — some 40,000 tonnes — is negligible.

Russia and China said that the US and ally South Korea stop their military drills — which anger the North — and end the deployment of the controversial anti-missile Thaad system in South Korea, in return for Pyongyang ceasing its nuclear and missile programme.

The proposal was rejected by the US and South Korea. On Thursday, the South’s military announced it had completed the deployment of Thaad, reported Yonhap news agency.

US President Donald Trump had previously warned that Washington could cut off trade with countries that do business with North Korea.

The US had indicated that if the resolution is not passed when the Security Council meets next Monday it may impose its own sanctions unilaterally.

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