18 November 2019

China vows to enforce U.N. curbs on North Korea as Trump praises cohesion

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

KONFRONTASI-China will pay the biggest price from the new U.N. sanctions against North Korea because of its close economic relationship with the country, but will always enforce the resolutions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday over its continued missile tests that could slash the reclusive country's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

Speaking at a regional security forum in Manila on Monday, Wang said the new resolution showed China and the international community's opposition to North Korea's continued missile tests, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

"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.

"But in order to protect the international non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as before, fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution."

China, North Korea's lone major ally, has repeatedly said it is committed to enforcing increasingly tough U.N. resolutions on North Korea, though it has also said what it terms "normal" trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected.

The latest U.N. resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the numbers of North Korean labourers currently working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

"What this is going to do is send a very strong message and a united message," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told NBC's "Today" programme in an interview on Tuesday, adding that Washington would be watching to see the sanctions are enforced.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised other nations for addressing North Korea's missile programme.

"After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Haley said Trump was keeping "all options on the table" for dealing with North Korea and speaking of its leader, Kim Jong Un, said "he has to decide if he strikes the United States, is that something he can win?"

North Korea has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States and has ignored international calls to halt its nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korea says its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are a legitimate means of defence against perceived U.S. hostility. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills.

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