US pushes to ‘update, strengthen’ UN sanctions on North Korea | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

North Korea has been subjected to UN
sanctions since 2006, which the UN Security Council has steadily stepped up
over the years in a bid to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and
ballistic missile programs.

But the hermit Asian state has
successfully worked to evade some UN sanctions, according to independent UN
sanctions monitors, who reported last month that North Korean cyberattacks on
cryptocurrency exchanges were an important revenue source, earning Pyongyang
hundreds of millions of dollars. Read full story

US Ambassador to the United Nations,
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the 15-member council on Friday that she would
propose a draft resolution “to update and strengthen the sanctions
regime” on North Korea. She did not give any details.

The council last adopted a resolution
imposing sanctions in December 2017, which included a ban on nearly 90 percent
of refined petroleum exports to North Korea. It committed to further restrict
petroleum exports if there was another nuclear test or intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM) launch.

North Korea launched what it called a
new ICBM on Thursday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the test was
designed to demonstrate the might of its nuclear force and deter any US
military moves. Read full story

The Security Council met on Friday, at
the request of the United States and five other members, to discuss the ICBM
launch, which was the latest in a string of missile tests. Nuclear tests and
ballistic missile launches by North Korea have long been banned by the Security


China and Russia signalled opposition to
the US move on Friday. They have instead long been pushing for an easing of UN
sanctions to improve North Korea’s humanitarian situation and to encourage
Pyongyang to return to denuclearisation negotiations with the United States and

“No party should take any action
that would lead to greater tensions,” China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun told
the council on Friday. “The US must not continue to brush aside the DPRK’s
justified demands. It should offer an attractive proposal to pave the way for
early resumed dialogue.”

North Korea’s formal name is the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Pyongyang wants US and UN
sanctions to be removed.

Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Anna
Evstigneeva told the council that Russia believed a further strengthening of UN
sanctions “would threaten North Korean citizens with unacceptable
socioeconomic and humanitarian problems.”

Thomas-Greenfield rejected Russia’s
argument, saying that UN experts had said the main barrier to sending
humanitarian aid to North Korea was the country’s own border closures due to
the coronavirus pandemic, not international sanctions.

The United States and allies have also
accused Kim of diverting money to the nuclear weapons and missile programs
instead of spending it on the North Korean people.

“Offering sanctions relief, without
substantive diplomatic progress, would only funnel more revenue to the regime
and accelerate the realisation of its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and
ballistic weapons goals,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

UN political affairs chief Rosemary
DiCarlo stressed to the council on Friday that its unity “in this matter
is essential to ease tensions, overcome the diplomatic impasse and avoid a
negative action-reaction cycle.”

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