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North Korea sanctions

China says it won’t allow war or chaos on Korean peninsula after backing latest UN sanctions

Sanctions and talks the best way to end crisis over Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons, says foreign ministry spokesman

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 September, 2017, 10:41am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 September, 2017, 11:22pm

China said on Tuesday it will not allow war or chaos on the Korean peninsula after it endorsed the latest UN sanctions against Pyongyang following its nuclear test last week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement that the United Nations Security Council resolution, which cuts the annual export of oil and fuel products from about 8.5 million barrels to 2 million, will be fully enforced.

But Geng added that the resolution also reiterated the need to maintain peace and stability across the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.

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China also called for a diplomatic and political solution to the crisis and supported a return to the six-party talks pushing for denuclearisation, Geng said, stressing that all sides should take measures to ease tensions.

“The peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. The military solution has no way out. China will not allow war or chaos on the Korean peninsula,” the statement said.

Geng said the suspension of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme as well as US-South Korean military drills would be a practical and feasible way to resolve the situation, along with a “dual-track” approach combining sanctions and talks.

He also reiterated that China firmly opposed the deployment of a US-developed missile shield in South Korea, saying it severely damaged strategic security in the region.

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The UN sanctions are the strongest yet against Pyongyang, and also include bans on textile exports from the North, joint ventures and technology transfers, as well as efforts to stop smuggling of prohibited products.

The US was pushing for tougher sanctions – including a full oil embargo – but met resistance from Russia and China, which feared that putting too much pressure on North Korea could escalate tensions.

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Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the PLA’s General Staff Department, said Beijing was trying to distance itself from Washington and its push for harsher measures.

“By reiterating that China will not tolerate chaos or conflict on the peninsula, Beijing appears to be taking aim at the US. This lays bare the differences between Beijing and Washington on North Korea,” Yue said. “China wants to make it clear that the US, not China, holds the key to resolving the North Korea nuclear problem.”

China has already imposed sanctions on Pyongyang including banning seafood imports from North Korea, and Chinese banks reportedly put a stop to transactions by North Koreans on Tuesday.