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UN extends experts monitoring North Korea sanctions

AP  |  United Nations 

The voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the mandate of the UN panel of experts monitoring sanctions on North Korea, with urging its members "to correct" the negative impact of the tough measures on the lives of ordinary citizens.

Adoption of the resolution was delayed for weeks over Russia's demands that the committee address the humanitarian impact of sanctions.

Russia's expressed concern after the vote to extend the experts' mandate until April 24, 2020 that sanctions are hurting ordinary North Koreans, especially "the most vulnerable members of society women and children." "We trust the committee in the immediate future will take up consideration, and will reach agreement on practical measures to correct this abnormal situation," he said.

But Britain's said and some countries "seek to blame sanctions for the humanitarian situation" when it's due to the country's policies, not sanctions.

"This includes the diversion of billions of dollars toward prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and a refusal to allow the international community to monitor aid distribution," he said.

Clay stressed that U.N. resolutions that imposed sanctions on "have been designed with exemptions intended to avoid humanitarian impacts." He said the process of humanitarian exemptions should continue to be monitored.

According to a U.N. report issued last month, an estimated 11 million people in over 43 percent of the population are undernourished and "and is widespread."

The report by Tapan Mishra, the of the U.N. office in North Korea, said that "threatens an entire generation of children, with one in five children stunted due to " He said that last year's U.N. appeal for $111 million to help 6 million of North Korea's most vulnerable people was only 24 percent funded, one of the lowest levels in the world.

The U.S.-drafted resolution makes no mention of the humanitarian situation but states that the "proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, continue to constitute a threat to international peace and security." The has imposed successively tougher sanctions on North Korea to try to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

But the panel of experts said in their latest report to the in February that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs "remain intact" and its leaders are dispersing missile assembly and testing facilities to prevent "decapitation" strikes.

The report said North Korea continues to defy U.N. sanctions, including through "a massive increase in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of and coal" and also continues to violate an arms embargo, a ban on luxury goods and financial sanctions.

U.S. told the council after Wednesday's vote that the is very concerned at Pyongyang's "increasingly sophisticated sanctions evasion trends." He singled out its unhindered efforts to obtain refined petroleum products, its increased smuggling of coal, and its expanding global efforts "to conduct cyber thefts to make up for its export revenue losses." Hunter urged all countries to fully implement sanctions, which he said "is critical to achieving the final, fully verified, denuclearization" of North Korea.

Donald Trump's second summit with North Korean leader in in February collapsed due to disputes over sanctions, and no new talks have been scheduled.

China's deputy U.N. Wu Haitao, whose country is close to North Korea, told the Security Council after the vote that "for the dialogue to continue and make headway the key is to address the legitimate concerns of the parties concerned in a balanced manner.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 09:00 IST