Trade didn’t lead to North Korea’s nuclear arms program; sanctions won’t stop it

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/20 18:48:39

With Chinese traders along the border with North Korea suffering severe losses, China has been taking almost all the responsibility for the new economic sanctions the UN Security Council imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs. Yet, it remains in doubt whether the price China is paying will really stop North Korea from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

After China banned imports of coal, iron ore, lead and seafood from North Korea starting last Wednesday, dozens of trucks carrying seafood from North Korea to China were reportedly stuck on the bridge between China's Quanhe customs port and North Korea's Wonjong customs port. With fish thawing and rotting in the sun, Chinese importers in Hunchun, a city in Northeast China's Jilin Province bordering North Korea, are expected to bear huge losses. The decision has also cast a chill on the formerly bustling local seafood market.

By cutting off imports from North Korea and inflicting actual losses on its traders, the Chinese government has clearly showed its determination and efforts to observe the international nuclear nonproliferation regime.

As North Korea's major trading partner, China is obviously mainly responsible for implementing the economic sanctions in compliance with the UN resolution. It's not the first time that China has enforced economic sanctions on North Korea at the request of the international community, and China has always been responsible and steadfast in meeting its obligations.

Whenever North Korea launched a missile test, China was the one under the pressure to implement sanctions on the country, at the cost of its business and the livelihoods of border residents.

However, history shows that trade sanctions are not the way to keep North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. China's economic ties with North Korea are not the reason its neighbor is pursuing nuclear weapons, so cutting off economic exchanges won't produce the desired results. It is just wishful thinking that North Korea will abandon its quest simply because of economic sanctions.

Measures like sanctions or military deployments will only exacerbate tensions and might even lead to a humanitarian crisis.

All relevant parties need to fulfill their responsibilities involving the North Korea nuclear issue. Dialogue and consultation are the only effective options for solving the issue, so countries should push for the resumption of six-party talks to establish a comprehensive and effective mechanism for regional peace and security.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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