UN sanctions on N. Korea opens way to new talks about talks

by WorldTribune Staff, August 6, 2017

Yet another American president is enlisting China to put the squeeze on North Korea. And China has again agreed to play along with what the Trump Administration earlier branded as a failed exercise.

Therefore on Aug. 6, Beijing called on the Kim Jong-Un regime to stop its missile and nuclear tests and for the United States to pursue talks involving the major powers in a diplomatic solution to the North Korea crisis.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / Reuters

China’s new-found cooperation came after the UN Security Council on Aug. 5 imposed sweeping new sanctions on North Korea.

However both the United States and China are known to be actively preparing military options as communist North Korea threatens to abandon its hermit isolation and emerge as an unpredictable and uninvited member of the 9-member “Nuclear Club” of nations with arsenals of nuclear weapons.

So the new round of sanctions and diplomacy involves the joint recognition by the United States and Japan that the status quo in North Korea is no longer sustainable.

President Donald Trump noted the “very big financial impact” of the sanctions and that both China and Russia had joined in the unanimous vote.

Analysts say the new sanctions could cut off roughly one-third of North Korea’s estimated $3 billion in annual exports and put a huge dent in the funding Pyongyang needs for its weapons programs.

Related: Report details China’s extensive military preparations along 880-mile border with N. Korea, July 27, 2017

Under the new sanctions, all countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers who deliver much-needed hard currency to the Kim Jong-Un regime.

“It was a good outcome,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, meeting with North Korea’s top diplomat during the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Manila on Aug. 5, urged Pyongyang to “maintain calm” in the aftermath of the UN vote.

“Do not violate the UN’s decision or provoke international society’s goodwill by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Wang warned the North.

Beijing also repeated its call for the United States and North Korea to resume talks.

Tillerson has said the Trump administration is willing to hold talks with North Korea, but that won’t happen until Pyongyang agrees to abandon its nuclear program.

The U.S. also said it will closely monitor China’s compliance with the new sanctions.

Susan Thornton, the top U.S. diplomat for Asia, said Beijing had historically cooperated with sanctions after flagrant North Korean violations but then slipped back over time.

“We want to make sure China is continuing to implement fully the sanctions regime,” Thornton told reporters in Manila. “Not this kind of episodic back and forth that we’ve seen.”

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