United States seeks harsh sanctions on North Korea

U.S. demands that UN impose oil embargo on North Korea and freeze the foreign assets of its leader Kim Jong-Un.

Elad Benari ,

Kim Jong-Un
Kim Jong-Un

The United States on Wednesday demanded an oil embargo on North Korea and a freeze on the foreign assets of its leader Kim Jong-Un, AFP reports.

The demands are contained in a draft U.S.-authored resolution submitted to the UN Security Council. The resolution would go far beyond seven previous rounds of sanctions and would rock Kim's isolated regime.

The draft, obtained by AFP, demands not only an oil embargo and a freeze on any assets Kim holds abroad, but also a ban on textile exports and an end to payments made to North Korean guest workers.

China has long been reluctant to take measures that could trigger instability or a refugee exodus on its frontier, and Russian has already dismissed calls for an arms embargo, noted AFP.

Tensions with North Korea have been on the rise recently and this continued on Sunday, when Pyongyang confirmed it carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test, its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has recently been engaged in a fiery war of words with Kim, on Wednesday insisted that military action against North Korea's nuclear program is not his first choice and pushed for a diplomatic option.

Trump called his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to try to prevent any further damage to the international solidarity that last month saw new U.S. sanctions unanimously adopted.

Sunday’s test followed threats by Pyongyang to attack Guam, a tiny U.S. territory in the Pacific.

Those threats came in response to Trump’s warning that Pyongyang faced "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued to threaten the United States with its missile and nuclear programs.

On Tuesday, North Korea warned it would send “more gift packages” to the U.S. should it continue to pressure Pyongyang.

U.S. officials have urged the UN Security Council to vote on new sanctions as early as next week.