anyone can see these sanctions have been castrated

UNSC Unanimously Approves New Sanctions On NK
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Sep 11 2017

The UNSC has unanimously voted to step up sanctions on NK in retaliation for the country’s recent sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The UNSCR passed unanimously, with both China and Russia siding with Pindostan against NK, which however should not come as a surprise because as previewed this morning, Pindostan drastically watered down its original sanctions proposal, which now excludes Trump’s prior demands for an oil import ban as well as international asset freeze on the government and leader Kim Jong Un, in order to win the support of Moscow and Beijing. This was the ninth sanctions UNSCR unanimously adopted since 2006 over NKs ballistic missile and nuclear programs. Despite the compromises, Haley said the resolution would cut NK exports by 90% and reduce the refined products available to NK by 44% and fuel by 30%. She said:

Today we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear armed NK. This will cut deep.

Well, not really: the SCR slashes 55% of the country’s gas, diesel and heavy fuel imports, imposing a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2Mb/yr on refined petroleum products, and a cap on crude oil imports at current levels, in other words NK’s oil flow remain untouched (as a reminder, China supplies most of NK’s crude). NK imports some 4.5Mb/yr of refined petroleum products and 4Mb/yr of crude oil. The new SCR also will impose an embargo on all textile trade and require inspections and monitoring of NK’s sea vessels by member states, but doesn’t provide for the use of military force to gain access to the ships. According to the WSJ, a proposed ban on NK foreign workers, a source of an estimated $1b/yr revenue to the regime, also was reworded to allow countries to employ NK nationals if deemed vital for humanitarian reasons. It also doesn’t apply to workers who hold contracts taking effect before the adoption of the SCR. Previously, China and Russia had voiced opposition to harsher measures and threatened to block the vote if the ban on oil remained. China is reluctant to pressure the NK regime to the brink of collapse, fearing instability at its border, a flow of refugees and a possible pindo military presence. Both Russia and China have said they favor direct talks and not sanctions. Haley said that the sanctions will target $1.3b/yr in NK revenue, and added that the “strong relationship between Trump and Xi played a key role in negotiating the new UNSCRs,” or translated: China imposed its terms on the pindo proposal so that China would not veto the mostly optical measure, to avoid making Trump look weak again in the UN. She also said that Pindostan is “not looking for war” with NK, and added that NK has not yet “passed the point of no return.” That said, by now it is completely unclear just what would entail passing said “point of no return.” After a week of intense negotiations, a unanimous UNSCR against NK was viewed as politically more important than a strong pindo stand that risked division, diplomats said. France’s Ambassador François Delattre said:

Any perception of weakness on the side of the SC would only encourage the regime to continue its provocations and objectively create the risk of an increasingly extreme situation.

Of course, further provocations by the regime at this point remain all too likely. And so, now attention turns to Pyongyang and NK’s response: overnight, KCNA unleashed numerous warnings and threats toward Pindostan should the sanctions pass. The spox of the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement:

In case Pindostan eventually does rig up the illegal and unlawful ‘resolution’ on harsher sanctions, the DPRK shall make absolutely sure that Pindostan pays due price.

However, it is unclear if these drastically watered down sanctions, which have China’s explicit blessing, will be sufficient to prompt another ICBM launch and/or nuclear test. In any case, keep an eye on those flashing red headlines.

NK Doubles Down On Threat After Latest UNSC Sanctions
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Sep 12 2017

You’ve probably heard this one before. After the UNSC unanimously voted to impose stricter sanctions on NK on Monday, it again vociferously rejected the unanimous decision and issued its latest in a string of threats, recycling verbatim language it had used on Monday (local time) when Pindostan was still calling for a total ban on energy imports to the North. At the time, the North warned that it would inflict “the greatest possible pain” on Pindostan if more sanctions were to be imposed. Well, later that day, the SC unanimously voted to impose “stricter” (not really) sanctions on NK. The resolution cut NK exports by 90% and reduced the refined products available to NK by 44% and fuel by 30%, however it did not touch the NK oil trade, a key factor for Beijing. Of course, this represented a dramatic watering-down of the Pindostan’s original sanctions proposal, which excluded Trump’s prior demands for an oil import ban as well as an international asset freeze on the government and Kim, concessions made in an attempt to win the support of Moscow and Beijing. As expected, a NK diplomat immediately blasted the measures as “unlawful” according to Reuters. Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae Song, told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva: 

My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful UNSCR. … (Pindostan is) fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation … obsessed with the wild game of reversing the DPRK’s development of nuclear force which has already reached the completion phase. … The DPRK is ready to use a form of ultimate means (for Pindostan to) suffer the greatest pain it ever experienced in its history.

As usual, NK’s words were largely ignored by Pindostan. One pindo boxtop, disarmament ambassador Robert Wood, took the floor at the UNSC meeting to praise the sanctions, saying:

The SCR frankly sent a very clear and unambiguous message to the regime that the international community is tired, is no longer willing to put up provocative behaviour from this regime. My hope is the regime will hear the message loud and clear and it will choose a different path. We call on all countries to vigorously implement these new sanctions and all other existing sanctions.

While NK’s threats have sometimes portended coming nuclear or missile tests, a Friday report from NBC has complicated matters somewhat by relaying that Chinese leaders have said they would intervene to protect Pyongyang if the war of words erupts into a full-scale military conflict on the peninsula, a message they, too, delivered previously in what is becoming a giant geopolitical melodrama on constant rewind. As for NK’s threat, Pyongyang cable providers apparently don’t carry E!, otherwise Kim Jong Un would know how laughable his “max pain” threat is when compared to “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

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