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China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

The United Na­tions’ re­sponse to lat­est provo­ca­tions by the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea — its in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile launches on July 3 and 27 — has been prompt, with the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­prov­ing tough, new sanc­tions on Py­ongyang.

UN res­o­lu­tion 2371, with the ex­pected con­dem­na­tion “in the strong­est terms”, bans coal and other ex­ports from the DPRK to­tal­ing up­wards of $1 bil­lion, as well as new joint ven­tures with the DPRK and ad­di­tional for­eign in­vest­ment in ex­ist­ing ones.

The sanc­tions will bite deep. A $1 bil­lion cut in DPRK ex­port rev­enues means Py­ongyang will pos­si­bly lose one-third of what it earned last year.

But no mat­ter how tough the sanc­tions are, on their own they will never be enough to achieve a last­ing set­tle­ment of the penin­sula nu­clear is­sue. Nor will the use of force, as some are propos­ing, re­solve the is­sue; in­deed it will only make the sit­u­a­tion worse.

What is needed is for all par­ties in­volved to come back to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble to ham­mer out a deal that can fi­nally bring peace and sta­bil­ity to the po­ten­tially volatile re­gion.

That is why the call in the UN res­o­lu­tion for the long-shelved Six-Party Talks to be restarted should be both lauded and sup­ported by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

Given what has hap­pened in the pre­vi­ous talks in­volv­ing the DPRK, the Repub­lic of Korea, the United States, Ja­pan, China and Rus­sia, it would be naive to ex­pect the talks once restarted to achieve anything sub­stan­tial in a short pe­riod of time. But it should be borne in mind that it was amid pre­vi­ous di­a­logues among the six that progress was made on the is­sue, and it was only since the talks stopped that the sit­u­a­tion has threat­ened to get out of hand.

For the re­sump­tion of the Six-Party Talks, China pro­poses that the DPRK sus­pend its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­gram and the United States its military drills, which is the most re­al­is­tic and rea­son­able way to de­crease ten­sions and pave the way for all par­ties to re­turn to the ne­go­ti­a­tion ta­ble.

As Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said, sanc­tions are not the ul­ti­mate pur­pose but rather a means to bring all the par­ties con­cerned back to talks so they can re­al­ize the ul­ti­mate aim of re­solv­ing the penin­sula is­sue for good.

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