Russia, China Press U.S to Ease Sanctions on North Korea

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Russia and China on Monday proposed to ease some sanctions on North Korea, increasing the pressure on the United States and signals what is the likely end of unified efforts to persuade Pyongyang commits to Security Council resolutions on denuclearisation, in a move the United States described as premature.

China and Russia proposed a draft resolution that the United Nations Security Council lifted a ban on North Korea exporting statues, seafood and textiles, and ease restrictions on infrastructure projects and North Koreans working overseas. The plan was brought up at a crucial moment, just weeks before the deadline set by North Korea for Washington to offer more concessions.

The United States says it would be premature for the U.N. to consider lifting sanctions right now and has called for North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

Since North Korea and the United States established a hostile relation, however, both Moscow and Beijing have increasingly voiced support for easing sanctions. This official proposal represents a new level of pressure on the U.S, said analysts.

China hopes the U.N. Security Council forms a consensus on the draft resolution, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday, urging North Korean and the United States to keep talking.

South Korea, also expressed willingness to ease some sanctions as part of a deal with North Korea, said on Tuesday sanctions could only be eased through a consensus among Security Council members and called for diplomatic efforts to be focused on resuming talks.

Other analysts noted Beijing and Moscow have shown increasing unity on the issue of security on the Korean peninsula.

Sanctions relief is crucial for both China’s Northeast Area Revitalization Plan as well as Russia’s economic interests in the Russian Far East, said Anthony Rinna, a specialist in Korea-Russia relations at Sino-NK, a website that analyses the region.

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