T Rex presses China to act
LONDON — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Thursday urged China to use its leverage as North Korea’s principal supplier of oil to press the isolated nation into reconsidering its development of nuclear weapons.
The Trump administration sought an embargo on oil imports to North Korea at the UN Security Council this week in response to the North’s most powerful nuclear test to date.
But opposition from China and Russia forced the UN to approve weaker measures, although it did ban textile exports, an important source of its revenue for the North.
Tillerson said it was going to be “very difficult” to get China to consent to an embargo against its neighbour, but he still urged China as a “great country and a world power” to use its leverage as the supplier of virtually all North Korea’s oil.
“That is a very powerful tool and it has been used in the past,” Tillerson said at a news conference. “We hope China will not reject that.”
He spoke after talks with Britain and France on how to increase pressure on the authoritarian government of Kim Jong Un as it moves closer to having a nucleartipped missile that could threaten the American mainland.
China opposes North Korea’s nuclear weapons development but worries that greater economic pressure on the North could trigger a collapse.
It wants the U.S. to restart long-stalled negotiations with North Korea.
The U.S., Britain and France are the other permanent members of the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful decision-making body.