China urges North Korea to make ‘smart’ decision after sanctions

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, second from left, prepares for a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, second from right, in the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and its Dialogue Partners Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017 in suburban Pasay city south Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) Top News

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged North Korea today to make a “smart decision”, after the United Nations imposed tough new sanctions on the isolated regime over its missile and nuclear programmes. “It will help the DPRK to make the right and smart decision,” Wang told reporters, according to a translator, after discussing the sanctions with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Hong-Yo ahead of a regional security forum in the Philippine capital Manila.

However Wang also emphasised that negotiations were the only way to solve the issue, after the United States had left open the possibility of military action against Kim Jong-Un’s regime. Wang called for a resumption of the stalled six-nation talks — hosted by China and including the United States, Japan, Russia as well as the two Koreas — aimed at curtailing the North’s atomic ambitions.

“It’s not that easy but it is a direction we need to work together towards,” Wang said of the six-nation talks.

“Only dialogue and negotiation is the correct way out to address the Korean peninsula issue.” The top diplomats from all those nations are in Manila for the ASEAN Regional Forum, an annual security forum, which begins on Monday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has no plans to hold talks with Ri in the Philippines, his aides have said, but could meet him inside one of the meetings. The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously backed a US-drafted resolution that significantly strengthened sanctions on North Korea, imposing a ban on exports aimed at depriving Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenue.

The sweeping measures were the first of that scope to be imposed on North Korea since US President Donald Trump took office and highlighted China’s willingness to punish its Pyongyang ally.

The resolution imposed a full ban on exports of coal, iron and iron ore, lead and lead ore as well as fish and seafood by the cash-starved state — stripping North Korea of a third of its export earnings estimated at $3 billion per year. US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the stiffer measures brought the penalty imposed on North Korea for its ballistic missile tests “to a whole new level” and that the council had put Kim “on notice”.

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