USA accuses Russian Federation of "cheating" United Nations sanctions on North Korea

US Russia spar over North Korea sanctions

USA accuses Russian Federation of "cheating" United Nations sanctions on North Korea

The United States maintains that UN sanctions which have dealt a blow to North Korea's economy must remain in place until Pyongyang has completely scrapped its nuclear weapons and military programmes.

United Nations diplomats familiar with discussions said Russian Federation was angered that the panel used a lot of US intelligence in the initial report that Moscow claimed was incorrect.

The bombshell comes amid escalating tensions between the United States and the Kremlin which risks the unity of the 15-member UN Security Council.

Russian Federation and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization. "There have been many places, in which Russians have been useful", Pompeo told journalists after his meeting with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in NY, when asked about Russia's role in North Korea's denuclearization.

The statement did not name countries, but it came a day after Haley accused Russian Federation of interfering in a report from the U.N.'s independent Panel of Experts on the implementation of sanctions.

She, however, added that Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported in May that the Agency had observed nuclear signatures consistent with the continued operation of a plutonium production reactor, radiochemical laboratory and alleged uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon, North Korea.

The U.S. says its effort to keep pressure on North Korea's economy through sanctions approved by the Security Council is being undermined by Russian Federation and China, who the Americans accuse of helping Kim's regime skirt the restrictions.

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The Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and has made them tougher and tougher in response to further nuclear tests and an increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile program.

Haley said that while "difficult, sensitive talks" between Washington and Pyongyang are ongoing, it was the wrong time to start easing sanctions.

This is just the latest in a series of sanctions violations acknowledged by the Trump administration since President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a summit in Singapore in June. And it said North Korea is violating sanctions by transferring coal at sea and flouting an arms embargo and financial sanctions.

North Korea has profited handsomely from its illicit cigarette trade, according to the Treasury, reportedly netting more than $1 billion per year.

Haley said in a statement last week that Russian Federation successfully pressured the supposedly independent panel to water down the report.

China's ambassador Ma Zhaoxu likewise declared sanctions a "dead end" and warned, "Resorting to force will bring nothing but disastrous consequences".

Russian Federation and China then blocked the United Nations from imposing sanctions on Russia-based entities and vessels sanctioned a week earlier by the U.S. Treasury Department.

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