UNITED NATIONS, United States, Aug 10, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Russia and China
on Thursday blocked a US request to add a Russian bank to a UN sanctions
blacklist along with a North Korean official and two entities, diplomats
The United States last week asked a UN sanctions committee to slap an
assets freeze on Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank for allegedly helping North Korea
evade UN-imposed restrictions on financial transactions.
The request also targeted Ri Jong Won, the deputy representative of North
Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and two North Korean front companies.
In a response to the council, Russia raised doubts about the allegations
while China told the council that it objected to the proposed sanctions
designations put forward by the United States.
“We would like to underline that designation requests submitted to the
committee should be adequately substantiated by sufficient information,” said
the Russian mission to the United Nations in a message to the council seen by
The request followed a US Treasury Department decision to impose unilateral
sanctions on the Russian bank, the North Korean official and the two
The two companies were named as the Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade
Company and the Korea Ungum Corporation.
Russia and China have called on the Security Council to consider easing
sanctions to reward North Korea for opening up dialogue with the United
States and halting missile tests.
But the United States has called for maintaining “maximum pressure” from
sanctions until North Korea has fully dismantled its nuclear and ballistic
Earlier Thursday, the North Korean foreign ministry issued an angry
statement, denouncing the United States for responding to its overtures by
“inciting international sanctions and pressure.”
The council last year adopted three rafts of sanctions targeting North
Korea’s economy through export and import bans, as well as restrictions on
It was the second time in three weeks that Russia and China have objected
to a US request to tighten sanctions on North Korea.
On July 19, the two countries put a six-month hold on a US request to halt
all deliveries of refined oil products to North Korea.
The United States had made the request to the sanctions committee after
finding that North Korea had exceeded the cap on fuel imports though illegal
ship-to-ship transfers at sea.
UN sanctions resolutions place a ceiling for North Korea of 500,000 barrels
of refined oil products per year and four million barrels of crude.
A cut-off of oil and fuel would have to be enforced primarily by China,
which supplies most of North Korea’s energy needs, but also by Russia, which
delivers some oil to Pyongyang.