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(5th LD) U.N. Security Council postpones vote on N.K. resolution until Wednesday

All Headlines 11:21 March 02, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more details in 11th para)
By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, March 1 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council postponed a vote on a new resolution expanding sanctions on North Korea until Wednesday as Russia asked for more time to review the draft resolution, officials said Tuesday.

The vote, which had been scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, has now been rescheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday as Russia, a veto-holding permanent member of the council, asked for a 24-hour review of the draft worked out between the United States and China, U.N. diplomats said.

"Last minute glitch," State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a regular briefing. "As I understand it, the United States did request a vote on the resolution today and the Russians asked for a 24-hour review period and we're in that period now."

The resolution, which significantly toughens sanctions on Pyongyang, was put together after nearly 50 days of painstaking negotiations between the U.S. and China amid Beijing's opposition to harsh measures against the communist neighbor.

The U.S.-China agreement had raised hope that the resolution could be adopted as early as last weekend. But Russia put a last-minute hold on it, saying it needs time to review the proposed resolution. Russia is the only member of the 15-member council that has yet to endorse the text.

After reaching final agreement with China, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power unveiled key points of the draft resolution, which include requiring U.N. member countries to inspect all cargo going in and out of North Korea.

The resolution also bans the North's exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the country's total exports, while prohibiting all small arms and other conventional weapons from being sold to the North.

In addition, the resolution 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.

Japan's NHK television reported that the draft resolution has been modified to reflect Russia's requests, including adding an exception to the ban on aviation fuel supplies to the North so as to allow the fueling of North Korean civilian planes overseas.

An official of the North's Korea Mining Development Trading Corp. (KOMID), who is stationed in Russia, has also been removed from the list of individuals to be blacklisted, bringing the total number of individuals to be sanctioned to 16, the NHK report said.

It would be the fifth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the North. Seoul officials voiced hopes that the new resolution will stop Pyongyang's evolving nuclear program.

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.
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