In yet another unanimous vote on Monday, the United Nations approved a new round of sanctions on the rogue Pyongyang communist regime as a retaliatory measure against North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The United Nations Security Council composed of fifteen members, including Russia and China, passed the economic-sanctions resolution unanimously, with both Russia and China siding with the United States against Pyongyang.
However, this is hardly a surprise on China’s part (despite the rhetoric, China is North Korea’s biggest friend and ally) due to the fact that the United States administration drastically attenuated its initial sanctions-proposal. The new bill axed President Trump’s demands for an international asset freeze on Kim Jong-un and the North Korean government and his demands for a complete oil-import ban.
The thing is, with President Trump’s demands on the sanctions bill, the UN Security Council(read China and maybe Russia) would have not approved/passed the resolution.
According to the US Ambassador to the UN, the new economic sanctions would cripple North Korean exports, cutting them by as much as ninety percent, while reducing refined petroleum products available by 44% and fuel (as in gas) by 30%. Nikki Haley was quoted as saying:
“Today we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed North Korea.This will cut deep.”
However, even if the new UN resolution cuts 55% of North Korea’s diesel, gas and heavy fuel imports, while it imposes a ban on natural gas liquids and condensates, a cap on crude oil imports at current levels and a cap of 2,000,000 barrels annually on refined petroleum products, that means North Korea’s oil flow, which is supplied mostly by China by the way, will remain basically untouched. North Korea imports 4 million barrels of crude oil and 4.5 million barrels of refined petroleum on a yearly basis.
China and Russia, which both hold veto-votes on the United Nations Security Council opposed harsher sanctions (as in a complete oil-ban) against Pyongyang and threatened to block the bill, fearing that too much pressure on the North Korean regime would destabilize the country and bringing Kim Jong-un-s regime at the brink of collapse would create instability at the border (both Russia and China share borders with North Korea), a possible American presence and maybe a refugee wave spilling into their countries.
The new (drastically watered down) sanctions which were slapped on North Korea with China’s explicit blessing look like an exercise in PR more than anything, as they’re mostly aimed at avoiding America/President Trump to look week again in the United Nations. I have no doubt the new sanctions will be just as successful as the rest of our sanctions against that crazy fat kid’s regime have been, i.e. it’s unlikely they’ll be sufficient to deter the Pyongyang from further nuclear tests/ICBM launches. Stay tuned and watch the headlines.