China reiterates opposition to new UN sanctions ahead of vote
China reiterated its opposition to new sanctions on North Korea ahead of a vote on Thursday on a U.S.-drafted UN resolution that would impose tougher measures on the reclusive northeast Asian nation to its recent launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons.
Chinese UN Ambassador Zhang Jun instead called on the United States to take “concrete and meaningful actions” to resume dialogue with the country and find a political solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula, where the 1950-53 war between North Korea and South Korea Korea ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
He did not say whether China would abstain or veto the resolution in the Security Council’s vote on Thursday afternoon.
With tensions on the peninsula, Zhang said, it’s important to remain calm, avoid provocative actions and “really give hope” to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the country’s official name – by raising certain sanctions instead of imposing new ones.
“We don’t think additional sanctions will be helpful in responding to the current situation,” he told reporters on Thursday. ”It can only make the situation worse. …so that’s what we really want to avoid.” Alluding to the US “pivot to Asia” reflecting China’s rise as an economic and military powerhouse and America’s most important competitor America, Zhang said, ”We don’t want to see anyone using the situation in the DPRK or the Korean Peninsula as a map for their strategic or geopolitical agenda.” ”We are totally against any attempt to make North -East Asia a battlefield or to create clashes or tensions there. Thus, as a neighbor of the DPRK and as a neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, we have our responsibility to maintain peace, security and promote denuclearization there. That’s always our goal,” he said. Wednesday’s vote announcement and U.S. release of the 14-page draft resolution came hours after South Korea announced that North Korea had launched a suspected test ICBM and two shorter-range missiles. scope. It also followed Tuesday’s conclusion of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Asia trip bolstering the U.S. pivot that included stops in South Korea and Japan, where he reaffirmed America’s commitment to defending both allies against to the nuclear threat from the North.
The Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea’s first nuclear explosion in 2006 and has tightened them over the years, seeking to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and cut off funding.
In the latest sanctions resolution adopted in December 2017, the Council pledged to further restrict oil exports to North Korea should it launch a ballistic missile capable of reaching intercontinental ranges, a point stressed several times by US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
The resolution to be voted on Thursday would cut crude oil exports to North Korea from 4 million barrels a year to 3 million barrels, and it would cut exports of refined petroleum products from 500,000 barrels a year to 375,000 barrels. It would also prohibit the North from exporting mineral fuels, mineral oils and mineral waxes.
In addition, the draft resolution would ban the sale or transfer of all tobacco products to North Korea, strengthen maritime sanctions and ban the DPRK’s export of clocks, watches and their parts.
The proposed resolution would impose a global asset freeze on the Lazarus Group, which was created by North Korea. It states that Lazarus engages in “cyber espionage, data theft, currency heist and destructive malware operations” against government, military, financial, manufacturing, publishing, media and entertainment institutions, as well as shipping companies and critical infrastructure.
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