China hits back at Japan for targeting Chinese firms in fresh North Korea sanctions

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 8:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 August, 2017, 10:38pm

China has hit back at Japan for slapping sanctions on Chinese companies in a bid to pressure North Korea, accusing Tokyo of following Washington’s lead and creating barriers to bilateral ties.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday that Japan would freeze the assets four Chinese entities and one Chinese individual.

The fresh Japanese sanctions, which also cover two Namibian firms and one North Korean individual, are aimed at parties thought to be helping Pyongyang export coal and send workers overseas.

They are apparently aimed at curbing the inflow of money to North Korea, which has developed nuclear and missile programmes in violation of United Nations resolutions.

US imposes new sanctions on Chinese and Russian companies to cut off North Korea support

Asked what message Japan was sending with the latest sanctions, Suga said was it was important to observe UN Security Council resolutions.

“It is extremely important to exert pressure in this form while acting in concert with the United States and South Korea,” he said.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Japan of creating “new political obstacles” for Sino-Japanese ties.

“Japan has neglected China’s firm stance and insisted on following some other countries in imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese enterprises and individuals. We ... strongly oppose [the decision],” she said.

Hua said Japan’s actions “gravely harm China’s interests and judicial sovereignty, and create new political obstacles to improving China-Japan relations”.

“China demands Japan immediately cease with the relevant mistaken methods. If Japan remains obstinately on this course, it must bear the consequences,” she said.

Japan’s move came after Washington announced on Tuesday that it was adding 16 mainly Chinese and Russian entities and individuals to its blacklist for supporting North Korea’s weapons programmes.

Japan and the US also sanctioned the Bank of Dandong, a Chinese bank accused of laundering money for North Korea, cutting it off from the US financial system.

China sanctions will cost North Korea US$1.5 billion, but won’t curb Kim’s nuclear ambitions

Earlier in the month, the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang in response to two long-range ballistic missile tests in July.

Beijing followed up with a ban on various North Korean exports, including coal, iron ore and seafood.

Additional reporting by Reuters