New sanctions ‘blow to NK’

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/12 23:08:39 Last Updated: 2017/9/13 20:33:56

China urges talks, will fully implement resolution: FM

Members of the UN Security Council vote on new sanctions against North Korea on Monday at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: AFP

The latest UN sanctions on North Korea, including limits on crude oil imports and a ban on exporting workers, would be a heavy blow to the country, though the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula still relies on negotiations, Chinese experts say.

Measures imposed by the UN Security Council on Monday include limits on oil exports to North Korea, a ban on the country's textile exports and access to liquefied gas, and a closer inspection of cargo ships going in and out of its ports.

A statement on North Korean state news agency KNCA warned that if the US eventually pushes through with harsher sanctions, North Korea would "absolutely make sure that the US pays a due price."

China said it will fully implement the UN Security Council's latest sanctions on North Korea while calling for a peaceful resolution instead of a military response to resolve the nuclear crisis.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that "China pays close attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula as a neighboring country. Safeguarding the peace and stability and solving the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula through peaceful negotiations have been China's consistent stance, as well as its position in implementing UN's relevant resolutions."

The 15-member Security Council seeks to cap refined petroleum products by up to 500,000 barrels beginning in October, and up to 2 million barrels per year starting January for a year.

"Oil exports to North Korea will drop by nearly 40 percent, a huge blow to its energy supply," Lü Chao, an expert on Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

A total ban on crude oil exports may be considered if North Korea is determined to advance its nuclear technology, experts said.

The UN Security Council has likewise banned textile imports, including fabrics and partially completed apparel, beginning 90 days from the adoption of the resolution.

"North Korea will lose $700 million to $800 million a year from the textile ban. And it will also affect some Chinese and foreign companies in Shanghai as well as border cities since they offer materials to North Korean companies for processing," said Jin Qiangyi, director of Yanbian University's Asia Research Center, told the Global Times.

Data from China's General Administration of Customs show that North Korea exported $260 million in textile products to China from January to July, or 44 percent of its total exports to China.

The UN resolution also acted on North Koreans who work outside of their country and who could be "generating foreign currency that North Korea uses to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

"The new resolution will severely affect North Korea's foreign currency earnings as North Koreans working overseas in textile mills in China, Southeast Asian countries and the Middle East, and woodwork mills in Russia contribute a large part to the country's tax revenue every year," Lü said, adding that the toughest sanctions yet could compel North Korea to weigh the costs of pushing nuclear weapons, as no country could survive in isolation.

Regime change unacceptable

'However, both Lü and Jin agree that it's highly unlikely that imposing tougher sanctions would push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

"The US and its allies Japan and South Korea hope to suffocate North Korea and overturn its regime through economic and military pressure, but this will not work because China and Russia will not accept this, as it will affect their national interests and jeopardize the regional strategic balance," Lü said.

The US, South Korea and other parties should avoid actions which will complicate the situation, Geng said, adding that "the Korean Peninsula issue must be resolved through peaceful means. China will never allow the Korean Peninsula to descend into war and chaos."

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