Seoul seeks UN sanctions on North Korea’s mineral exports

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Seoul, Feb 26 (IANS) North Korea’s foreign currency earnings would be cut drastically if the United Nations adopts sanctions against that country’s mineral exports, the South Korean government said on Friday.

The United States and China have agreed on a package of new sanctions against Pyongyang for its fourth nuclear test on January 6 and long-range missile test on February 7, Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea is banned from such tests under previous UN resolutions that seek to counter Pyongyang’s development and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The suggested sanctions include bans on North Korea’s exports of mineral resources like coal, iron and rare earth minerals, as well as imports of aviation and rocket fuel supplies, to the country.

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If the resolution is adopted, “it will cause a considerable disturbance to (North Korea’s) foreign currency earnings,” unification ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said.

“North Korea’s exports of mineral resources to the outside are known to account for 40 percent of its total export earnings,” Jeong noted.

The spokesman added that South Korea will start discussing the country’s follow-up measures after the UN finalises its resolution.

The proposed sanctions’ ban on aviation fuel supplies would also compromise the communist country’s capability to engage in local battles, military and intelligence officials said.

“If the supplies of jet fuel supplies are axed, it could dramatically cut North Korea’s power to launch localised provocations or to engage in localised combat,” an official said.

A shortage of aviation fuel may have the effect of thwarting North Korea’s willingness to organise provocative actions toward the outside world, another official noted.

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North Korea is currently using JP-8 jet fuel, or Jet Propellant 8, to power its aircraft, and the type seems irreplaceable because of safety issues, other sources said.

The kerosene-based JP-8 is similar to commercial planes’ Jet A-1 fuel, except for its addition of corrosion inhibitor and anti-icing additives.

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