Beijing slams calls for new North Korea sanctions

China condemned "destructive" calls for new sanctions on North Korea Thursday, warning Japan, the US and Britain that diplomacy was needed to avert crisis days after nuclear-armed Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said sanctions alone “cannot fundamentally resolve the issue”, amid reports the three countries were pushing for new restrictions on North Korean oil imports and foreign workers.

“It is a pity that some countries selectively ignore the requirements for dialogue in the resolutions — they only emphasise sanctions,” she told a regular press briefing, adding “these words and deeds play a destructive role instead of a constructive role in solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue”.

“The current situation on the Korean peninsula is not a screenplay, it’s not a computer game. It is a real situation that directly bears on the security of the people on the peninsula and the whole regional peace and tranquility,” she said.

Her comments came as Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters Thursday that Japan and the United States would seek fresh sanctions to stop the North’s missile and nuclear tests.

Tokyo planned to enhance efforts with Washington to persuade China and Russia to change their positions against an envisaged oil embargo with a new UN Security Council resolution, Japan’s Jiji news agency reported Thursday, citing informed sources.

Britain, whose Prime Minister Theresa May is visiting Japan, has called for new UN sanctions against North Korea that would target guest workers sent mostly to Russia and China, and whose wages are a source of revenue for Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council has already imposed seven sets of sanctions on Pyongyang, the most recent of which were passed earlier this month, but the measures have done little to quell Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear missile ambitions.

Their effectiveness hinges largely on China, which accounts for 90 percent of trade with North Korea but is suspected of failing to enforce past UN measures.

On Tuesday, UN diplomats secured a unanimous condemnation of Pyongyang’s latest missile tests, but it was not expected to immediately lead to new or tightened sanctions, with divisions among the 15-member council on how to proceed.

The North set off global alarm Tuesday when it fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan, triggering condemnation from the UN Security Council and world leaders including the US and Britain.

China has long called for the issue to be resolved through dialogue, but prospects for a diplomatic solution look increasingly dim as North Korea’s provocations have been met with escalating rhetoric, particularly from the US.

In response to the latest missile launches, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to condemn Pyongyang, writing “the US has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” DM


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