China implements sanctions on NK

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China is halting imports of iron, iron ore and seafood from North Korea from today, in accordance with new UN sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
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China is halting imports of iron, iron ore and seafood from North Korea from today, in accordance with new UN sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The decision was announced yesterday after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korea, which raised international alarm over where the crisis is headed.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be “completely prohibited” from today. 

A suspension of coal imports was announced in February.

On August 6, the United Nations Security Council approved tough sanctions that could cost North Korea US$1 billion a year.

The sanctions were in response to two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, after which North Korea boasted it could now strike any part of the United States.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi vowed after the UN sanctions were given the green light that China “will for sure implement that new resolution 100 percent, fully and strictly.”

Regional tensions have mushroomed in the past week as Trump warned North Korea it would face “fire and fury” if it attacked the United States while North Korea threatened to test-fire its missiles toward the US Pacific island of Guam.

The war of words sparked global concern, with world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, urging calm on both sides.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has previously advocated dialogue with North Korea, yesterday joined the calls for restraint.

Moon called for an end to “all provocations and hostile rhetoric immediately, instead of worsening the situation any further.”

“There must be no more war on the Korean Peninsula. Whatever ups and downs we face, the North Korean nuclear situation must be resolved peacefully,” Moon told a regular meeting with senior aides and advisers.

“I am certain the United States will respond to the current situation calmly and responsibly in a stance that is equal to ours,” he said.

However, North Korea reiterated its threats, with its official KCNA news agency saying that “war cannot be blocked by any power if sparks fly due to a small, random incident that was unintentional.”

“Any second Korean War would have no choice but to spread into a nuclear war,” it said yesterday in a commentary.

The governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo, defended Trump’s rhetoric, telling reporters that “sometimes a bully can only be stopped with a punch in the nose.”

China has appealed for a resumption of long-dormant six-nation talks to resolve the crisis. But its proposal for North Korea to suspend arms programs in return for the US halting military drills in the region has been ignored.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chungying said yesterday that relevant parties “should persist in negotiations and stay committed to the general direction of a political settlement.”

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