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Security Council to consider North Korea sanctions

Amy Scott Oct 13, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will hit the road next week. It’s a sales job, mostly. Trying to convince Japan, South Korea and China to hang tough. The U.S. managed to bring a stiff resolution on sanctions to the Security Council. What it’ll look like when it comes out the other end is anybody’s guess. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more.

AMY SCOTT: The details could change before tomorrow’s vote. But the latest draft would ban some weapons sales to North Korea. It would freeze the overseas assets of people involved in the country’s weapons programs, and it would ban the sale of luxury goods to the country.

Adam Siegel with the Council on Foreign Relations says that last one is aimed directly at North Korean President Kim Jong Il.

ADAM SIEGEL: Well, there’s this number floating around that Kim imports 600,000 bottles of Hennessy a year, or something like that. And so our kind of psychological profile of Kim is of a kind of decadent, luxurious playboy, and I think they want to cause him some pain.

The draft would also authorize U.N. members to inspect cargo entering and leaving North Korea. China opposes that idea, saying it could provoke a military response. China and Russia have successfully tempered the sanctions. The Security Council would have to pass a separate resolution to justify military action against North Korea.

Frank Gaffney heads the nonprofit Center for Security Policy. He says unless the U.N. cuts off all cash flowing into North Korea, economic sanctions won’t work.

FRANK GAFFNEY: My guess is that by the time all of this is done, we will have largely toothless sanctions. Sanctions that are more symbolic than meaningful.

But the Council on Foreign Relations’ Adam Siegel says China would never stand for tougher measures. He says as much as Beijing fears a nuclear North Korea, it’s just as afraid of the country’s collapse.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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