China seeks talks after UN im­poses new North Korea sanc­tions

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

THE UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously on Satur­day to im­pose new sanc­tions on North Korea, ban­ning ex­ports that sup­ply up to a third of the coun­try’s an­nual $3 bil­lion (R40bn) earn­ings.

The US-spon­sored res­o­lu­tion was in re­sponse to North Korea’s launch of two in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles last month, ac­tiv­i­ties pro­hib­ited un­der ex­ist­ing UN res­o­lu­tions.

The sanc­tions ban North Korea’s largest ex­port, coal, along with ex­ports of iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood. To­gether, those ex­ports bring in more than $1bn a year for Py­ongyang.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said the sanc­tions should be ac­com­pa­nied by a re­sump­tion of the six-party talks to set­tle the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue by diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal means, and avoid es­ca­la­tion of ten­sion.

The talks, which in­volve North and South Korea, the US, China, Rus­sia and Ja­pan, were ini­ti­ated in Bei­jing in Au­gust 2003, but have been stalled since De­cem­ber 2008. North Korea dropped out of the talks in April 2009.

Wang also ex­pressed the hope that all the par­ties could ac­cept China’s “dou­ble sus­pen­sion” pro­posal, which re­quires North Korea to sus­pend its mis­sile and nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties in ex­change for the sus­pen­sion of large-scale US-South Korean mil­i­tary drills.

Meet­ing his North Korean coun­ter­part, Ri Yong-ho, on the side­lines of an Asean for­eign min­is­ters’ meet­ings in the Philip­pines yes­ter­day, Wang called on Py­ongyang, Wash­ing­ton and Seoul to ex­er­cise re­straint and make the right choices. Ri said his gov­ern­ment was will­ing to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion with China on the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue.

In New York, US am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley told the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil that its vote showed Py­ongyang the world was united in seek­ing to end its nu­clear and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grammes. But “we should not fool our­selves into think­ing we have solved the prob­lem”, she said.

In ad­di­tion to ban­ning ex­ports, the res­o­lu­tion also pro­hibits all coun­tries from in­creas­ing the num­ber of North Korean work­ers they em­ploy, pro­hibits any new joint ven­tures and com­mer­cial agree­ments with North Korea, and in­creased in­vest­ment in ex­ist­ing ven­tures.

The goal is to pre­vent North Korea’s ac­cess to hard cur­rency, which Ha­ley and other del­e­gates at the coun­cil ses­sion said were not used for the wel­fare of the North Korean peo­ple. The US had also hoped to ban oil ex­ports and ad­di­tional bank­ing and com­mer­cial penal­ties, which were op­posed by China and Rus­sia.

UN sanc­tions, which were first im­posed in 2006 against North Korea, have not pre­vented tests of five nu­clear war­heads and four lon­grange mis­sile launches since then.


North Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho, left, is greeted by Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi be­fore their bi­lat­eral meet­ing on the side­line of an Asean for­eign min­is­ters’ meet­ing in the Philip­pines, yes­ter­day.

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