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(2nd LD) UNSC mulls ways to plug loopholes in sanctions on N.K.: source

All News 16:40 October 06, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS job title for official at bottom)

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) is considering ways to cover the "loopholes" in its sanctions imposed on North Korea by reducing exemptions which were aimed at safeguarding the livelihood of its people, a diplomatic source said Thursday.

The UNSC is working on a fresh resolution to punish the North for conducting its fifth nuclear test earlier last month. Washington and Beijing have been leading the negotiations with the new resolution expected to focus mostly on covering the loopholes through which the North is suspected of getting its hands on money needed for its nuclear program.

Under the previous resolution adopted in March following the North's fourth nuclear test, trade whose disruption could affect the livelihood of its people has been exempted from restrictions.

"Completely blocking the trade with the North is hard in reality (given China's objection) so the talks are under way in a way that the trade can be restricted," the source said, without elaborating further.

By narrowing the definition of "livelihood-related trade," the UNSC can make it hard for the North to abuse the exemptions, experts said, adding that imposing a quota on the amount of such trade might also be among the ways being discussed.

Demand for tackling the loopholes found in the March resolution has been growing as Pyongyang is suspected of taking advantage of them to earn necessary money through trade with China.

Industry data showed that the North exported 2.46 million tons of coal to China in August, up 35 percent from a year earlier. The coal exports marked the largest ever since related data published in 1998.

The foreign ministry said that the South Korean government is "closely" working with its allies to draw up a stronger UNSC resolution against the North.

"We are closely coordinating with our allies including the U.S. (on a new resolution) with directions on three aspects. Close the loopholes in the Resolution 2270 as much as possible, add new sanctions and expand those subject to the sanctions," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, said at a regular press briefing.


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