Japan pushes U.S. to propose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Japan pushed the United States on Wednesday to propose new United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea, which diplomats said could target the country’s laborers working abroad, oil supply and textile exports.

The United States traditionally drafts resolutions to impose sanctions on North Korea over its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. It first negotiates with Pyongyang ally China before involving the remaining 13 council members.

The Security Council condemned North Korea’s “outrageous” firing of a medium-range ballistic missile over northern Japan on Tuesday, but did not threaten new sanctions. Pyongyang said the launch was to counter U.S. and South Korean military drills.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho said Tokyo would now like a “strong resolution” on North Korea.

“We will certainly discuss it with the United States,” Bessho told reporters on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations said: “While the U.S. and Japan‎ remain in close consultation on North Korea, we are not working on a new resolution at the moment.”

A push for new sanctions is likely to counter resistance from veto-wielding powers China and Russia, diplomats said, particularly given new measures were only recently imposed after Pyongyang staged two long-range missile launches in July.

On Aug. 5 the council unanimously adopted sanctions that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue by banning exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood and prohibiting countries from sending any more North Korean laborers to work abroad.

‘TIME IS RIGHT’

Typically China and Russia only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible U.N. sanctions. North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

However, some council diplomats argue that new measures are needed because this was the first time…

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