china and russia urge un security council to lift north korea sanctions - China and Russia urge UN Security Council to lift North Korea sanctions

China and Russia have urged the United Nations Security Council to lift sanctions on North Korea to “enhance the livelihood” of the civilian population.

The draft proposal seeks to ease sanctions by removing a ban on Pyongyang’s exports of statues, seafood and textiles. It also proposes that the ban on North Koreans working abroad must be removed and inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects should be exempt from sanctions.

It seeks to acknowledge “the difficult situation of economy and livelihood of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] in recent years, underscoring the necessity to respect the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK, and ensure the welfare, inherent dignity, and rights of people in the DPRK”, according to Reuters.

The draft proposal mirrors in many ways the resolution created by China and Russia for the 15-member Security Council in 2019. To pass a resolution in the Security Council, nine votes are needed. There should also be no vetoes from the United States, France, Britain, Russia or China to pass.

While two formal rounds of talks were held on the 2019 draft, the proposal was never formally put to vote, reportedly because of US disinterest. UN diplomats who wished to remain anonymous said that no new rounds of talks have been scheduled around the new draft proposal.

A spokesperson for the US mission in the UN said that the focus should be on ensuring that North Korea continues to comply with the existing sanctions.

“The Security Council has repeatedly affirmed that it is prepared to modify, suspend, or lift the measures as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance. Yet the DPRK has taken no steps to comply with the Security Council’s demands regarding its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” the spokesperson said.

However, a spokesperson for China’s mission to the UN had confirmed last month that the 2019 draft resolution “remains on the table.”

The UN has imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 citing its nuclear advancement programme. The particular industries that China and Russia have mentioned in their draft brought in millions of dollars to North Korea, before sanctions were put in place in 2016 and 2017.

North Korea is struggling with food insecurity, compounded by the fallout of border restrictions imposed during the pandemic.

Additional reporting by agencies