- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council on Monday condemned North Korea’s “irresponsible and provocative” attempts to evade U.N. sanctions.

Council members emphasized “the importance of full compliance” with the six rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions in a statement after closed-door discussions.

North Korea continues to defy the sanctions dating back to 2006, carrying out nuclear and ballistic missile tests to develop the ability to deliver nuclear weapons at long distances. Its leader, Kim Jong Un, has also been accused by South Korea of sending agents to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to kill his half brother Kim Jong Nam using what Malaysian police said was VX nerve agent, a banned chemical weapon.

Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, expressed hope that if Malaysia has evidence that VX was used in the Feb. 13 attack at Kuala Lumpur airport, it will send the evidence to the chemical weapons watchdog and the Security Council.

“Once they have done that then we can take it forward,” Rycroft told reporters. “I very much hope that any country, in this case Malaysia, with potential evidence of something as serious as this makes it available as soon as possible.”

Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said, “We’re basically waiting for Malaysia to come up with a clear-cut decision on this.”

Ukrainian Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, the current council president, said the attack on Kim Jong Nam was not discussed at Monday’s meeting, which focused on implementation of North Korea sanctions.

Rycroft said a draft report from U.N. experts monitoring sanctions against North Korea contains “numerous further examples” that Pyongyang is in violation of sanctions. The North has used the global financial network and front companies to evade the punitive measures.

Italy’s U.N. ambassador, Sebastiano Cardi, who chairs the North Korea sanctions committee, said he will be spearheading efforts to get more of the 193 U.N. member nations to report on what they are doing to implement the sanctions. He said 77 countries have reported on the sanctions resolution adopted last March, “but we have to speed up this process.”

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said it is crucial that the council remains united, calling North Korea’s nuclear program “a threat to regional and international peace and security.”

The council statement said members emphasized their intention to work jointly to reduce tensions and to achieve denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Delattre said he was encouraged that the European Union decided earlier Monday “to implement new restrictive measures” against North Korea, based on the latest sanctions resolution adopted in December.

“It’s a very important signal coming from the EU and we need to continue to put collectively maximum pressure on DPRK so that the regime abides by its obligations,” he said, using the initials for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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