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N.K. missile launch makes China back unprecedented sanctions: report

2016/02/27 04:24

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's long-range missile test earlier this month caused China to back off from its opposition to strong sanctions against Pyongyang and agree to a new set of unprecedented measures, a U.S. official was quoted Friday as saying.

The Wall Street Journal cited the unidentified American official as saying that the North's Feb. 7 rocket launch was a "turning point in the U.S.-China negotiations" over how strongly to punish the provocative regime for the Jan. 6 nuclear test.

On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power unveiled key points of the draft sanctions resolution that the U.S. and China agreed on earlier this week after more than a month of painstaking negotiations amid Beijing's opposition to harsh measures against the North.

The new sanctions would require mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of North Korea, ban its exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency for Pyongyang, and prohibit all small arms and other conventional weapons from being sold to the North.

In addition, the resolution, which is expected to be formally adopted as early as Saturday, also calls for banning jet and rocket fuel supplies to the North, and grounding North Korean flights suspected of carrying contraband, and denying suspicious vessels carrying illicit items access to ports.

Power said the new sanctions, if adopted, would represent the strongest set of sanctions imposed by the Security Council in more than two decades, and "a major increase in pressure" as they target more of the North's pressure points.

The new resolution would be the fifth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the North.

The previous resolutions were adopted after the North's first nuclear test in 2006, its second nuclear test in 2009, its long-range rocket launch in late 2012 and its third nuclear test in early 2013.