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North Korea sanctions

China advises against unilateral sanctions against North Korea

Situation on peninsula is ‘complicated’, parties should stick to UN guidelines, foreign ministry says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 6:36pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 11:25pm

China on Friday called for all countries involved in trying to resolve the crisis in North Korea to remain committed to the UN resolution on sanctions and to avoid taking unilateral action.

“The situation facing the Korean peninsula is complicated,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a press conference in Beijing.

“All parties have to strictly follow the UN Security Council resolution if they want to resolve the issue.”

Lu was speaking after United States President Donald Trump signed a new order to boost sanctions against Pyongyang.

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The order, signed on Thursday, authorised the US treasury to target firms and financial institutions that conduct business with North Korea. It came two days after Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in which he threatened to “totally destroy North Korea”.

The new measures were designed to “cut off sources of revenues that fund North Korea’s efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind,” Trump said.

He singled out North Korea’s textiles, fishing, information technology and manufacturing industries as the principal targets.

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Lu said at the press conference that “China opposes the imposition of sanctions outside the framework of the United Nations Security Council”.

Last month, the US announced sanctions against five Chinese companies and one individual, two Singapore-based companies and three Russian citizens, which it accused of supporting North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. Beijing demanded Washington drop the sanctions.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been steadily rising as a result of Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests and nuclear blasts.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that Pyongyang might consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.

In his address at the assembly, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said negotiation remained the only solution to the North Korea problem, while warning its neighbour not to pursue the development of nuclear weapons.

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“No matter the changes in circumstance, no matter how long it takes, not matter the difficulties we face, China will always persist in the goal of denuclearising the peninsula, in moving towards talks,” he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe disagreed, however, saying it would be pointless to start another round of dialogue after North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear test and twice fired missiles over Japan in less than three weeks.