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US eyes to freeze assets of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un

The United States on Wednesday asked the UN Security Council to slap an oil embargo on North Korea and freeze the assets of leader Kim Jong-un, in response to Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

A US-drafted resolution obtained by AFP also called for banning textile exports and ending payments made to North Korean labourers sent abroad, further depriving the regime of revenue to pursue its military programmes.

The United States circulated the proposed resolution to the 14 other council members two days after ambassador Nikki Haley called for the “strongest possible measures” to be imposed on North Korea.

Ms Haley said that the US was seeking a vote on the new sanctions on Monday, but it remained an open question whether Russia and China, which have veto power at the council, would back the tough measures.

The draft text takes aim directly at North Korea’s leadership with a freeze on Mr Kim’s assets as well as those of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea and the government of North Korea.

Mr Kim would be added to a UN sanctions blacklist that would subject him to a global travel ban, along with four other senior North Korean officials, according to the draft.

The state-owned Air Koryo airline would be hit with an assets freeze, as would the Korean People’s Army, the ruling party’s central military commission and seven other government or party departments. All countries would be authorised to seize and inspect North Korean cargo vessels on the UN sanctions list, according to the 13-page document. An annex adds the names of nine ships to the blacklist.

North Korea on Thursday pledged to take “powerful counter measures” to respond to US pressure or any new sanctions against it over its missile programme, accusing Washington of wanting war.

Pyongyang’s pledge, made in a statement by its delegation to an economic forum in Russia’s Far East. “We will respond to the barbaric plotting around sanctions and pressure by the United States with powerful counter measures of our own,” the statement read.

The same statement also accused South Korea and Japan of using Russian forum to play “dirty politics,” saying the event was meant to be about discussing economic cooperation in the region and not its missile programme.

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