The UN Security Council was considering Tuesday a
draft resolution that would impose a travel ban and freeze assets of
North Korean officials and companies that were involved in last
month's successful launch of a ballistic missile.
The Pyongyang government fired a multi-stage rocket on December 12, which for the first time put a satellite in orbit. The launch was strongly condemned by the United Nations because it violated resolutions banning North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday he believed the council was "very close" to adopting new sanctions against North Korea and he urged the body to "take action as soon as possible."
The draft apparently has the approval of a majority of the council's 15 members and could be adopted in response to the December 12 rocket launch.
The draft seeks to impose travel bans and freeze the assets of four North Koreans named in the document: Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control centre of the Korean Committee for Space Technology; Chang Myong-chin, general manager of the Sohae satellite launching station; and Ra Kyong-su and Kim Kwang-il of the Tanchon Commercial Bank, which is responsible for sales of weapons and missiles.
The draft would also freeze the assets of six groups involved in space technology, trade and banking, which include the Korean Committee for Space Technology, the Bank of East Land, the Korea Kumryong Trading Corporation, Tosong Technology Trading Corporation and Leader International based in Hong Kong.
Leader International is described in the draft as North Korea's primary arms dealer and exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.
The UN Security Council imposed strict sanctions, including travel bans and freezing of assets, in 2006 and 2009, after North Korea test-fired nuclear devices. The sanctions have failed to deter Pyongyang from pursuing its development of ballistic missiles.
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