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China Agrees to Sanction of North Korea Officials

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Bloomberg.com

China Agrees to Sanction of North Korea Officials

(Update 1)

By Bill Varner

July 13 (Bloomberg) — China has agreed for the first time to punish senior North Korean government officials for the nation’s defiance of United Nations resolutions barring nuclear and missile tests, China’s deputy ambassador said.

Ambassador Liu Zhenmin said his government would support imposition of a travel ban and asset freeze on “some, but not all” North Korean officials proposed by the U.S. as targets for UN sanctions. No government officials had been subject to the sanctions adopted by the Security Council following North Korea’s nuclear test in 2006.

Liu, speaking in an interview, declined to identify the officials, other than to say they hold “senior” government positions.

China’s acceptance of sanctions against North Korean officials and companies, as well as material that might contribute to development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, clears the way for Security Council action this week. Russia acquiesced last week, leaving the panel to await China’s decision.

Ambassador Fazli Corman of Turkey, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, said formal agreement by its 15 member governments would come within days.

Frozen Assets

The Security Council in April agreed to freeze the foreign assets of two North Korean companies and a bank and also said the government in Pyongyang was barred from acquiring items designated by the Missile Technology Control Regime, a coalition of 34 nations to curb proliferation of missile technology. It was the first time the 2006 sanctions had been enforced.

China’s action followed adoption last month of a resolution to punish North Korea for its May 25 nuclear bomb test and missile launches. The measure seeks to curb loans and money transfers to the communist nation and step up inspection of cargoes suspected of containing material that might contribute to the development of nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles.

The text, which was adopted unanimously on June 12, called for a Security Council committee to designate additional entities, goods and persons to be subject to the 2006 travel ban and asset freeze. The committee was given 30 days to agree on the new targets of the sanctions.

North Korea was condemned by the Security Council after the government in Pyongyang launched several missiles earlier this month in defiance of the UN resolutions. North Korea fired four short- or medium-range missiles on July 2 and seven on July 4.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at wvarner@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: July 13, 2009 12:53 EDT

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=anva0DO4uNqA

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 13, 2009 at 6:41 pm

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