China to Enforce new Sanctions on North Korea Amid Accusations of not Executing Previous Punishments
Following the United Nations (UN) imposition of the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea, China said that the sanctions are not meant to hurt 'normal' trade relations with the belligerent state nor adversely affect the North Korean people.
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China's foreign ministry said on Thursday that the UN sanctions are aimed at cutting North Korea's annual coal export earnings by more than 60 percent in 2017, in a bid to strip of the regime of cash that could be used to pursue its nuclear weapons program.
"Resolution 2321 formulates new measures, showing the resolve of the Security Council, and also points out they must avoid creating adverse consequences for North Korean civilian and humanitarian needs, and are not intended to create negative effects on normal trade," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a press conference on Thursday.
North Korea's coal exports to China is the single external source of revenue for the isolated state, and with the new resolution, China would slash its imports by $700 million compared with its 2015 sales.
Despite Beijing's anger over Pyongyang's series of nuclear tests, it remains North Korea's most important trade and diplomatic ally.
The US and the international community had repeatedly accused China of not enforcing the past UN sanctions strictly, which was vehemently denied by Beijing.
Geng said China has always enforced the UN sanctions to the letter, and the same strict imposition of the sanctions would be made with the new resolution.
China has expressed disappointment over the US, Japan, and South Korea's sole reliance on Beijing to rein in Pyongyang and force it to give up its nuclear weapons saying it could not do it alone.
In an editorial published in the Chinese communist-backed newspaper Global Times, it said that all parties should assume their respective responsibilities and not look to China alone to solve the Korean Peninsula crisis.
Geng urged all parties to return to the negotiating table and called on all sides to stay calm and avoid any confrontation that could worsen the already volatile situation in the Korean Peninsula.
He said Beijing has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the impending US deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system on South Korean soil saying it would jeopardize the security situation in the region and might be used to target China later on.
Washington, on the other hand, has repeatedly explained to Beijing that the THAAD deployment would be used solely to counter Pyongyang's nuclear tests.