China will support a new United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution against North Korea, foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing on Thursday.
“Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should respond further by taking necessary measures,” Wang said after a meeting with his Nepalese counterpart in comments reported by AFP.
“We believe that sanctions and pressure are only half of the key to resolving the issue,” Wang added. “The other half is dialogue and negotiation.”
Wang’s remarks follow a Chinese Ministry of Commerce response to a question about a potential oil embargo and additional sanctions on Pyongyang, in which a spokesperson said Beijing would manage trade issues with North Korea in a way that it believes will maintain peace on the Korean peninsula.
A draft resolution of new measures being proposed by the U.S. at the UN calls for biting new sanctions against Pyongyang, including the prohibition of all oil product sales to North Korea, as well as banning member states hiring DPRK laborers, purchasing its textiles, and operating joint venture businesses in the country.
The potential sanctions measures also include an asset freeze on senior leadership figures, including Kim Jong Un, and the designation of North Korea’s national airline Air Koryo.
Wang Yi’s suggestion that China would agree to push forward with additional sanctions by the UNSC comes amid speculation that China’s main ally on the UNSC, Russia, may veto any new measures against the DPRK.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told press at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) on Thursday that he did not believe additional sanctions would persuade the North to stop its weapons programs.
“It’s impossible to scare them,” Putin said. “We are telling them that we will not impose sanctions, which means you will live better, you will have more good and tasty food on the table, you will dress better, but [denuclearization], they think, is an invitation to the cemetery. And they will never agree with this.”
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said that Russia will not say whether it will support new measures until it has seen a proposal, although he previously on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Russia was prepared to consider it if the resolution underlined that military options were off the table.
U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday suggested the U.S. would move to impose further secondary sanctions against foreign entities linked to North Korea if new sanctions were not approved by the UNSC.
“I have an executive order prepared. It’s ready to go to the President. It will authorize me to stop doing trade, and put sanctions on anybody that does trade with North Korea,” Mnuchin told reporters aboard Air Force One flying back to Washington from North Dakota. “The President will consider that at the appropriate time once he gives the UN time to act.”
“We believe that we need to economically cut off North Korea.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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