In order to avoid a Chinese veto of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, the United States dropped a provision to enforce an oil embargo and start a naval blockade to economically strangle Pyongyang.
An edited draft of the document, which the U.S. diplomatic team at the U.N. wrote, says the international community will still ban sales of North Korean textiles and will limit oil shipped to the pariah country.
“This is a text designed for adoption,” one source told the Guardian. “If they were running it to force a veto, they wouldn’t have made the revisions.”
Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the U.N. said measures would still be effective despite the softer tone of the sanctions.
“It’s called negotiation. That’s what we do here at the security council. There is a significant prize in keeping the whole of the security council united,” Rycroft said. “The version on the table is strong, it is robust, it is a very significant set of additional sanctions on imports into North Korea and on exports out of North Korea and other measures as well, so that’s why we will be voting in favour of it.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Thursday Beijing’s support for punitive action against North Korea for its recent ballistic missile tests over Japan.
North Korea depends on China for 90 percent of its crude oil supply. Stopping shipments to its neighbor would wreak havoc on Kim Jong Un’s dictatorship – a scenario China has been trying to avoid. A regime collapse is likely to result in a massive influx of refugees into China. Beijing has also opposed President Donald Trump’s push to penalize North Korea for the nuclear tests so far, but the mood is changing given Pyongyang’s most recent tests.