US faces a setback in the UN Security Council

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US faces a setback in the UN Security Council

NEW YORK - Russia and China on Thursday delayed a US push for a UN Security Council committee to order a halt to refined petroleum exports to North Korea, asking for more detail on a US accusation that Pyongyang breached sanctions, diplomats said.

The United States last week complained to the 15-member Security Council North Korea sanctions committee that as of May 30, there had been 89 illicit ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products this year by Pyongyang.

It asked the committee to notify all UN member states that North Korea has breached a refined petroleum cap of 500,000 barrels a year - imposed by the council in December - and order an immediate halt to all transfers.

But Russia’s UN mission put a “hold” on the US request on Thursday, telling the committee it is “seeking additional information on every single case of 'illegal' transfer of petroleum,” diplomats said.

China backed the Russian request and asked the United States “to provide additional factual information to facilitate all states to study and make judgment,” diplomats said.

The move comes a day after US President Donald Trump said he elicited a promise from Russian President Vladimir Putin to help negotiate with North Korea but did not say how. He also said: “There is no rush, the sanctions remain!”