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North Korea sanctions

Trump ‘appreciates’ China, Russia backing on tough North Korea sanctions that have ‘big financial impact’

Trump has been frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 2017, 12:36pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 5:35pm

US President Donald Trump has commended China and Russia for their support on a US-drafted resolution ramping up sanctions on North Korea, saying he “appreciates” their votes.

“The President appreciates China’s and Russia’s cooperation in securing passage of this resolution,” read a White House statement released after the UN Security Council’s unanimous passage of the sweeping measures.

“He will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilising behaviour.”

Watch: UN imposes tough new sanctions on North Korea

Trump has been frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea and Washington has threatened to impose new sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.

China has also been upset by possible moves by the Trump administration to exert trade pressure on Beijing.

Trump had earlier tweeted his support for the tough new sanctions.

“The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” he said on Twitter.

The sanctions against North Korea for its escalating nuclear and missile programmes include a ban on coal and other exports worth over $1 billion - a huge bite in its total exports, valued at US$3 billion last year.

The US-drafted resolution, negotiated with North Korea’s neighbour and ally China, is aimed at increasing economic pressure on Pyongyang to return to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programmes - a point stressed by all 15 council members in speeches after the vote.

The Security Council has already imposed six rounds of sanctions that have failed to halt North Korea’s drive to improve its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons capabilities.

The resolution’s adoption follows North Korea’s first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States on July 3 and July 27.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Asean foreign ministers meeting in Manila on Sunday, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said China played a “responsible and constructive” role in the UN’s decision to pass Resolution 2371.

The comments came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was also the Philippines for the regional summit expected to focus heavily on concerns with North Korea. Tillerson has no plans to sit down with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at the event.

Tillerson’s reluctance to sit down with his North Korean counterpart is despite his growing push for Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table with the US.

Tillerson said last week that such talks would have to be predicated on the North giving up its nuclear weapons aspirations and that the conditions for such talks haven’t yet been met by North Korea’s government.

Agence France-Press, Associated Press, Reuters