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The Security Council chamber is seen from behind the council president's chair at the United Nations headquarters
The draft resolution has not been officially debated yetImage: Mike Segar/Reuters
PoliticsRussian Federation

China, Russia push for easing North Korea sanctions

November 3, 2021

In a UN Security Council draft resolution, Beijing and Moscow have called for the lifting of trade sanctions on Pyongyang "with the intent of enhancing the livelihood of the civilian population."


China and Russia are calling on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to ease sanctions against North Korea, according to a draft resolution circulated to council members and cited by media outlets on Tuesday. 

North Korea is currently reeling under international sanctions aimed at limiting its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

What we know about the draft resolution

Beijing and Moscow said they want to "improve the quality of life" of civilian North Koreans by lifting trade restrictions on agricultural products, seafood, textiles and oil products. 

North Korea has suffered severe shortages of food and medical supplies amid isolation, international sanctions and a bad harvest due to major typhoons last year. 

The proposal includes lifting a ban on North Koreans working abroad and exempting inter-Korean rail and road cooperation projects from sanctions.

It would also have the council acknowledge "the difficult situation of economy and livelihood of the DPRK (North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) in recent years, underscoring the necessity to respect the legitimate security concerns of the DPRK, and ensure the welfare, inherent dignity, and rights of people in the DPRK."

Are we seeing a new arms race on the Korean Peninsula?

It reaffirms that UN resolutions "are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences" and notes "the serious impact of sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic" within the country.

Proposal stands little chance

North Korea has conducted multiple missile tests in recent months, raising concerns in the neighboring South and among its Western allies. 

With rising tensions between North Korea and the US, the Security Council is unlikely to approve the draft resolution. A UNSC resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the council's permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.

The UNSC first imposed restrictions on Pyongyang in 2006 after North Korea's first nuclear test. The sanctions were made tougher as North Korea conducted further tests over the years. 

In 2019, Russia and China circulated a similar draft resolution that faced stark opposition by Western council members and was never formally introduced for a vote. 

fb/jsi (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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