|Desiree Sison |||Feb 13, 2016 06:34 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) China has apparently reached its breaking point and has declared that North Korea must 'pay the necessary price' for its recent rocker launch and nuclear test.
China is taking a tough stance against North Korea for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, saying it will back a new United Nations Security Council resolution to make Pyongyang 'pay the necessary price', China's Foreign Minister told Reuters in an interview.
In a surprising turnaround to Beijing's calls for caution in dealing with North Korea, Wang Yi said on Friday that it was time for a 'strong' resolution' to be adopted by the Security Council to cover a wide range of areas, particularly hitting North Korea with tougher sanctions.
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"(We) support the United Nations Security Council to take further steps and in adopting a new resolution so that North Korea will pay the necessary price and show there are consequences for its behaviour," the minister said.
Back to the negotiating table
Wang made it clear to the news agency that although China is supporting the UN's new resolution, it is still affirming its position that the only way to denuclearize North Korea is to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
The UN Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, has repeatedly slapped North Korea with sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006.
Last month's nuclear test was the fourth since then and was followed by a rocket launch this month. Numerous ballistic missile tests have also been conducted by the belligerent nation in between the years.
Beijing and Washington have been at loggerheads over the years in dealing with North Korea with the US pushing for economic sanctions and China opting for the more diplomatic tack.
China insists that it has been making great strides in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, rejecting the claim of the US that China could do more in reining in Pyongyang.
Wang expressed concern over the possible US deployment of the sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea saying it could also be used against China.
New UN resolution
The UN Security Council is formulating a new resolution containing tougher sanctions, which diplomats said would go beyond zeroing in on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs.
China, for its part, wants to take future steps in the direction of non-proliferation of North Korea's atomic armaments.
Wang refused to comment on whether Beijing is amenable to imposing economic sanctions against North Korea, but he pointed out that the goal is to restrain Pyongyang's efforts in developing and proliferating its nuclear arsenal and missile technology.
"Sanctions are not the end, the purpose should be to make sure that the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula should be brought back to the channel of a negotiation-based resolution," he said.
Talks with US
North Korea, on Thursday, said it was evicting all South Koreans from the jointly-run Kaesong industrial zone. The move was in retaliation to South Korea's suspension of operations after Pyongyang's rocket launch on Sunday.
Reports said South Korea, for its part, will begin talks with the US next week on the possible deployment of the advanced THAAD.
A South Korean military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the missile system will be handled by the US military forces stationed in Seoul.
China's security interests
Wang has urged the US to rethink its military strategy and the possible repercussions that the deployment will have not only on North Korea but the whole Asia as well.
"The facts are clear. The deployment of the THAAD system by the United States ... goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula and the coverage would mean it will reach deep into the Asian continent," he said.
"This directly affects the strategic security interests of China and other Asian countries," Wang added.
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