The United States has asked the UN Security Council to freeze the assets of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and slap an oil embargo on the country in response to Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
A US-drafted resolution circulated on Wednesday also called for banning textile exports and ending payments made to North Korean labourers sent abroad, further depriving the Asian country of revenue to pursue its military programmes.
The draft text comes two days after Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called for the “strongest possible measures” to be imposed on North Korea.
Haley said on Monday that the US was seeking a vote on the new sanctions on September 11. However, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has said this might be “a little premature.”
The proposed resolution takes aim directly at the leadership in Pyongyang with a freeze on Kim’s assets, as well as those of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea and the government of North Korea.
Kim would be added to a UN sanctions blacklist that would subject him to a global travel ban, along with four other senior North Korean officials, according to the draft.
It was not immediately clear if the draft resolution had the support of North Korean ally China.
Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said the draft, which has “raised eyebrows”, was likely to meet resistance from China and Russia.
“The oil embargo is something that China, in particular, would very much oppose to,” she said.
“Beijing not only provides the bulk of North Korea’s energy needs, but the measure could also lead – according to the Chinese – to an economic collapse [of North Korea],” Jordan added.
“That is something that China does not want to see.”
A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, UK, France, Russia or China to pass.
“It’s very difficult to see that this first draft, in its current form, would go before the Security Council as early as Monday and be passed,” said Jordan.
The US presented the new raft of measures after President Donald Trump spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and told him that military action against North Korea was not his “first choice”.