U.S. North Korea sanctions team to visit Malaysia

(Reuters) – The U.S. envoy coordinating financial, arms and other sanctions against North Korea under a recent U.N. resolution will visit Malaysia on Sunday after a trip to China, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, the U.S. coordinator for the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, has arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on Thursday and Friday on enforcing U.N. sanctions, it added.

The resolution, which passed June 12, bans the export of all weapons by North Korea — which Washington says will cut off a significant source of funds for Pyongyang. It also bans all financial transactions with North Korea that could contribute to its nuclear or ballistic missile programs.

The steps are part of a push to get tough with North Korea, which conducted its second nuclear test on May 25 and which has stopped honoring a 2005 agreement to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and diplomatic benefits.

The Obama administration is eager to ensure the sanctions are actually enforced — particularly by China — unlike those passed after North Korea's first nuclear test in October 2006.

The China visit, which State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said will include talks with officials from the foreign and other ministries, makes sense given China is a neighbor of the North, its largest trading partner and a long-time benefactor.

It was not immediately clear why Goldberg was going to Kuala Lumpur before returning to Washington on Monday.

"His delegation plans to have similar meetings in Malaysia at the ministry of foreign affairs and other ministries on this same issue of implementing security council resolution of 1874," Kelly said.