The US will convene an emergency UN Security Council meeting on September 17th, as announced by John Degory, a public affairs officer of the US mission to the UN on September 14th. The reason behind is Washington’s disappointment with the Russian stance regarding a UN expert panel report on the implementation of North Korea sanctions.
“I can confirm meeting on Monday,” he told TASS, when asked by TASS whether the UN Security Council would convene following US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s statements on her disappointment by Russia’s amendments to a report from the UN’s independent Panel of Experts on the implementation of UN North Korea sanctions.
Earlier on September 13th, the press service of the Russian mission to the UN said that the amendments, presented by the Russian side, were introduced into the report by the Committee 1718 panel of experts on sanctions against Pyongyang. According to the mission’s statement, the amendments have only increased the quality of the report. “The situation with the report has once again demonstrated the importance of the expert panel’s cooperation with the group of experts,” the mission added.
TASS also cited Russia’s UN envoy, Vasily Nebenzya, who on August 31st told reporters that Russia had blocked the council’s discussion on implementation of sanctions against Pyongyang until amendments are introduced to the report, after the closing of UN Security Council consultations on North Korea.
TASS also recalled that on August 24, Russia blocked the adoption of the UN sanctions committee agenda, but its chairman refused to reflect this stance in the report. Nebenzya said shortly after that Russia and other delegations “expressed their concern about regular leaks of information from the committee and requested an inquiry into them.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Moscow on September 13th of seeking to cover up breaches of UN sanctions on North Korea by Russians.
Also on September 13th, The US announced new sanctions against North Korea Thursday, aimed at a Chinese company, its North Korean CEO and its Russia-based sister company.
The two information technology companies are North Korean-controlled entities, according to a US Treasury Department statement from September 11th. The statement accused the Russia-based company Volasys Silver Star, China-based China Silver Star and its CEO Jong Song Hwa of violating US sanctions.
“These actions are intended to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
He warned the “IT industry, businesses, and individuals across the globe to take precautions to ensure that they are not unwittingly employing North Korean workers for technology projects by doing business with companies like the ones designated today.”
CNN also cited two unnamed defense officials, who claimed that the Pentagon said the US and allies are “days away from launching a new effort to more publicly expose North Korean violations of sanctions.”
Regarding the sanctions on the Chinese-based company, Reuters cited a manager at Yanbian Silverstar, who would only give his family name Jin, said the allegations were “impossible.”
“I’ve never heard of Jong Song Hwa,” he was cited by Reuters.
On September 14th, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said that China fully enforces United Nations resolutions on North Korea and resolutely opposes any country enacting unilateral sanctions on Chinese entities using “long-arm jurisdiction.”
“China had already lodged stern representations with the U.S. side about this and urges the U.S. side to stop these wrong actions,” he said.
Furthermore, on September 13th, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said U.S. accusations that it was responsible for cyber attacks in 2014 and 2017 were a “smear campaign” and a man sanctioned by Washington earlier this month did not exist.
Washington charged and sanctioned Pak Jin Hyok and a Chinese-based front company he worked for, Chosun Expo, over the 2017 global WannaCry ransomware cyberattack and the 2014 cyberassault on Sony Corp.
KCNA said Pak was “non-existent” and the act of cyber crimes mentioned by Washington “has nothing to do with us.”
“The U.S. farce of prosecution is none other than a vicious slander and another smear campaign full of falsehood and fabrication designed to undermine the DPRK,” KCNA said. “In reality, the U.S. is the chief culprit responsible for posing security threats in cyberspace.”
On September 13th, despite the deal made between the US and North Korea, US State Department announced that it supported the sale of six Boeing Co P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft to South Korea for an estimated $2.10 billion and had notified Congress of its decision.
Regarding the South – North Korea relations, on September 14th it was announced that Seoul and Pyongyang opened a joint liaison office in North Korea.
The building in the North Korean city of Kaesong includes separate Northern and Southern offices and a joint conference room and is intended to facilitate cross-border exchanges following the Panmunjom Summit between President Moon Jae-in and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, AFP reported on September 14th.
“A new chapter in history is open here today,” South Korean unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon was quoted as saying by AFP at the opening ceremony, stressing that “this liaison office is another symbol of peace jointly created by the South and the North.”
The situation on the Korean Peninsula appears to have significantly improved over the past several months, since the Trump-Kim summit on June 12th. This all happens despite continuing US accusations that the North does not uphold it’s part of the Denuclearization deal, despite the US appearing to not withhold most if any of its obligations under the agreement.