Author: Liu Xin
Posted on: Global Times, December 2nd ,2016
China on Thursday called for a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the new UN resolution against North Korea, with analysts hoping that the sanctions could bring the country back to the negotiating table as soon as possible.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during a daily briefing on Thursday that the new sanctions impose new measures and show the Security Council’s resolve, but also cautioned against bringing adverse consequences to the North Korean people or their humanitarian needs.
The sanctions are not intended to have a negative impact on normal trade, and China has proposed that the sanctions be implemented in a comprehensive and balanced way, said Geng.
“China has always responsibly enforced UN resolutions, and that would be the case with the new sanctions,” said Geng.
The North Korean foreign ministry on Thursday condemned the resolutions and warned that the new set of sanctions will only prompt the country to respond with even more powerful “self-defense countermeasures,” Yonhap News Agency reported.
In response to Pyongyang’s fifth and largest nuclear test in September, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted “the toughest and most comprehensive sanctions” on Wednesday to slash North Korea’s main export of coal by 60 percent with an annual sales cap of $400.9 million, or 7.5 million metric tons, beginning January 1, 2017, according to a press release on the UN’s website.
The resolution also bans North Korean copper, nickel, silver and zinc exports and blacklists 11 more people, including the country’s former ambassadors to Egypt and Myanmar, and 10 entities, subjecting them to a global travel ban and asset freezes for ties to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“The sanctions’ effect depends on their implementation and how much diplomatic pressure North Korea would stand,” Zhang Dongming, a professor at Liaoning University’s School of International Studies, told the Global Times.
It is impossible to push North Korea to give up its nuclear tests merely by adopting the toughest sanctions, but they may succeed in getting the country back to the negotiation table, said Zhang.
One day after the UN sanctions, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se announced that South Korea, the US and Japan were preparing to announce their own sanctions on North Korea “to maximize their impact on the communist country,” Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.
Analysts said that the number of North Korean workers coming to China has been dropping even before the new sanctions were imposed.
A Reuters report said that interviews with Chinese traders and business owners in Dandong, Liaoning Province, reveal commerce with North Korea has been squeezed to an unprecedented degree, as Beijing tries to thwart Pyongyang’s accelerating nuclear and missile programs.
Jin Qiangyi, director of Yanbian University’s Asia Studies Center, told the Global Times that the sanctions will severely influence North Korea since mineral exports, especially coal exports, are the pillar of North Korea’s economy and they would also affect the livelihood of its citizens.
In the first 10 months of 2016, China imported 18.6 million tons of coal from North Korea, up almost 13 percent from a year earlier. North Korean exports by the end of 2016 will be capped at $53.5 million, or 1 million tons, Reuters reported.
China would firmly implement the sanctions since North Korea’s continuous nuclear tests and defiance of international calls have affected China’s national security, said Jin. He noted that the US is pushing for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea as an excuse for self-defense from North Korean nuclear threats.
Geng said on Thursday that “China opposes the deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system on the peninsula, and urges relevant parties to immediately stop this process.”
The international community needs to figure out follow-up measures, Jin said, stressing the importance to minimize the damage to the people’s livelihood and guiding the country toward openness.