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Russia, China prepare UN SC resolution for N.Korea sanctions relief, dialogue

The document also calls for prompt resumption of the six-party talks

UNITED NATIONS, December 17. /TASS/. Russia and China submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution calling for a sanctions relief to improve the humanitarian situation in North Korea.

According to a copy of the document, obtained by TASS, the UN Security Council "shall adjust the sanction measures towards the DPRK as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions." It also suggests that sanctions, imposed by earlier UN Security Council resolutions, "which are directly related to the livelihood of the civilian population of the DPRK should be lifted at an early date."

The document "welcomes the continuation of the dialogue between the United States and the DPRK at all levels." At the same time, Moscow and Bejing suggest calling for "prompt resumption of the six-party talks or re-launch of multilateral consultations in any other similar format, with the goal of facilitating a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue."

It also "calls upon all parties concerned to consider implementing further practical steps to reduce military tension on the Korean Peninsula and probability of any military confrontation by all appropriate means, such as, but not limited to, conclusion of agreements between military officials, adoption of formal declaration and/or a peace treaty for the end of the Korean war."

It is yet unclear when the document will be considered by the Security Council, a UN diplomatic source told TASS.

"The date of the vote is yet unknown. Prior to the vote, the document will be discussed during consultations with all UN Security Council members," he said.

Exemption from sanctions

The draft resolution suggests exempting from sanctions "certain industrial machinery and transportation vehicles which are used for infrastructure construction and cannot be diverted to the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, and certain items in the humanitarian and livelihood field."

The full list of those goods is listed in the annex. It includes iron, non-alloy steel, railway or tramway track materials of iron and steel, iron and steel structures for roof and windows, screws, bolts, rivets, bulldozers, excavators and road rollers.

The document, if adopted, would also authorize supply of nails, needles, pins, cutlery, boilers and radiators for central heating, air conditioning machines, household refrigerators and other domestic appliances.

US response

The United States believes that discussions on easing the sanctions regime against North Korea would be premature, a US Department of State official told TASS, commenting on the Russian-Chinese draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council.

Russia and China submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution calling for a sanctions relief to improve the humanitarian situation in North Korea. The document suggests lifting restrictions on certain categories of goods needed for infrastructure projects. It also calls for US-N.Korean dialogue to be continued at all levels.

"Now is not the time for the UN Security Council to consider offering premature sanctions relief," the official said. "The DPRK is threatening to conduct an escalated provocation, refusing to meet to discuss denuclearization, and continuing to maintain and advance its prohibited weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs."

He confirmed that Washington remained committed to progress toward denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula by diplomatic means.

"The United States cannot do this alone," the source added.

The UN Security Council held an emergency session on December 11 as the situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorated earlier this month. However, the council’s members were unable to reach agreement and adopt a joint statement. Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told the Council that the path toward North Korea's denuclearization was lying through trust-building measures, not through sanctions. "Sanctions will not substitute for diplomacy. It is impossible to reach an agreement without offering something in return," Nebenzya said.

At the same time, the envoys of France, the United Kingdom and the United States said it was too early to speak about sanctions relilef.