Pompeo, Haley step up pressure to support Trump's talks on North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., July 20, 2018. Moscow and Beijing are demanding more details on USA intelligence on this particular issue.

Pompeo said in the first five months of this year, there were at least 89 ship-to-ship transfers of oil - an evasive practice where sanctioned products are exchanged in worldwide waters by ships that often hide or obscure their identity.

USA documents sent to the committee and obtained by The Associated Press cite 89 instances between January 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products "illicitly procured" via such transfers.

"These sales and any other transfer must immediately stop since the United States believes [North Korea] has breached the ... refined petroleum products quota for 2018", the USA argued.

The Russians and Chinese, who are key suppliers of petroleum products to North Korea, said they needed more time to examine the US allegations, the diplomats said.

China and Russian Federation have argued that North Korea should be rewarded with the prospect of eased sanctions for opening up dialogue with the United States and halting missile tests. China has backed that request.

Real gross domestic product in North Korea fell by 3.5% previous year, the Bank of Korea said in a statement Friday, the largest decline since 1997 when the country suffered a devastating starvation. Both Moscow and Beijing have called for the relaxation of sanctions on North Korea. China has made similar calls.

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein, an associate at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who tracks the North Korean economy, said increasing economic penalties seemed to be the main cause of the decline.

Pompeo said North Korea is also evading sanctions by smuggling coal by sea and across borders, through cyber thefts and other criminal activities, and by keeping workers in some countries that he didn't name. We didn't block anything - we put it on hold.

China's U.N. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu said China was committed to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to the promotion of dialogue and negotiations.

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These actions are all "generating significant revenues for the regime and they must be stopped", he said.

Moscow and Beijing said they need additional time to investigate the USA allegations and put a six-month "hold" on the US request.

It asked the committee to order a halt to refined petroleum exports to North Korea, but Russian Federation and China put a "hold" on the request on Thursday and asked for more detail on the US accusation.

On her way into the meeting, Kang said Kim had made a clear commitment to scrap his nuclear and missile programs "and we will hold them up to that commitment". We don't need any more information. The sanctions committee has what it needs.

"I don't think we should go forward with the assumption that all this is going to work", Coats said.

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The sanctions banned North Korea's exports of raw commodities and severely restricted its supplies of oil, which are vital to sustaining the country's military program.

"We have teams in place that are working very hard on this issue every day", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Wednesday.

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