Trump appears to grant China banks sanctions reprieve after United Nations deal

12 August, 2017, 22:35 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Ri Yong-ho left and Wang Yi

China, however, is easily North Korea's biggest trading partner and economic benefactor, and helped design the sanctions package.

Secretary Tillerson is in Manila, where he will participate in #ASEAN2017 and discuss #DPRK, regional security.

"We want to make sure China is continuing to implement fully the sanctions regime", Thornton told reporters in Manila. But he also said it was not as simple as North Korea stopping launches for a few days or weeks.

The revenue from these different sectors is believed to fund North Korea's expensive ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new sanctions, banning major North Korean exports such as coal and iron, are created to starve the regime of the money to pay for it -money that is also used to enrich the powerful elites and generals who, in turn, don't challenge Kim Jong Un's near total power. Furthermore, they ban any new joint business ventures with the North Korean regime, as well as fresh investment into such existing ventures.

A scheduled meeting on the sidelines of the summit between Mr Wang and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh was called off as Vietnam asked ASEAN foreign ministers to include in a communiqué its concerns about China's militarisation of land in the South China Sea.

Burns, now a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School, told CBS News that the prospect of a border rush isn't the only reason China doesn't want to see the North Korean regime collapse.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pauses after delivering his opening statement during the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the ASEAN-China Center.

"Owing to China's traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution", the statement cited Wang as saying.

China appreciated comments earlier this month by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States was not seeking to topple the North Korean government and would like dialogue with Pyongyang at some point, Wang added.

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For its part, China took a stronger line on its neighbor publicly, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warning, "Do not violate the U.N.'s decision or provoke the global society's goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests". China, who has vowed to stick to the sanctions, picks up $2.5 billion of North Korea's annual exports alone. "Our objective is to bring all parties involved in the nuclear issues back to the negotiation table".

"The White House thanked both China and Russian Federation for their cooperation in a statement, adding: "[Mr Trump] will continue working with allies and partners to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea to end its threatening and destabilising behaviour".

Haley, instead of playing the good cop to Trump's bad cop, shocked the U.N.by implying a day later that if China did not want to cooperate, the USA was done with China and the United Nations -announcing that the US had no intention of requesting an emergency session of the Security Council as was widely expected.

Despite the strong posturing, North Korea has found itself increasingly isolated since it conducted two intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB) tests last month.

In the meantime, the push to isolate North Korea continues, including in Manila. Susan Thornton, the top USA diplomat for Asia, said Beijing had historically cooperated with sanctions after flagrant North Korean violations but then slipped back over time.

Still, the Chinese delegation held a one-on-one meeting with North Korea, noting it was "normal" because "North Korea is China's neighbor". "They look at the Iran deal and they see that just one president later, they [U.S.] is looking at renegotiating and new rounds of sanctions..."

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho struck a defiant tone Monday at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Manila, Asia's largest security forum, saying that the latest round of United Nations sanctions would not stop it from developing its nuclear arsenal.

But the U.S. envoy still wants to ensure that China, in particular, is ready to rigorously enforce the new trade bans and that Russian Federation remains committed to the embargo despite other differences with Washington. He cited the "very big financial impact" of the sanctions and noted optimistically that both China and Russian Federation had joined in the unanimous vote.

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