US sanctions undermine peace hopes, say analysts

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/25 21:13:39

China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions

The latest US sanctions on North Korea might be the "heaviest ever" but they are nonetheless doomed to fail, Chinese experts said on Sunday, noting such measures would more likely exacerbate tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

US President Donald Trump on Friday unveiled what he dubbed the "heaviest ever" measures against North Korea, targeting 27 trading and shipping entities, 28 vessels and one individual suspected of facilitating North Korea's evasion of existing sanctions.

The move was designed to "put a further squeeze on North Korea, cutting off sources of revenue and fuel for its nuclear program and clamping down on evasion of already existing restrictions," according to a BBC report.

The measures prohibit US citizens from dealing with these entities located in countries and regions including China, China's Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Assets held by the firms within the US will also be blocked, Al Jazeera reported.

"Given the fact that the trade volume between Pyongyang and Washington is next to none, the US is running out of moves to directly sanction North Korea, so it is desperately resorting to pressure on firms and individuals from third-party countries and regions," Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Unilateral moves, based solely on the US' own judgment and investigation - if any at all - are neither legal nor appropriate, Lü said. The related countries and regions are more than able and have every right to enforce their own laws, as the waters surrounding the peninsula do not need the US to police them, he added.

"Just like previous US unilateral measures, they are not going anywhere near to getting North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions, but merely complicating the situation," Zhang Huizhi, a professor at Northeast Asian Studies College of Jilin University, told the Global Times.

In response, North Korea stressed that every type of "blockade" by the US against it would be considered an act of war, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Sunday citing a statement issued by an unidentified North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson.

The statement added that the North possesses nuclear weapons to cope with Washington's threats, describing it as a "sword for justice," and the US would be held responsible for "all tragedies" if North Korea were pushed to the brink of war due to the US' reckless behavior, according to Yonhap.

Commenting on the sanctions against North Korea, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Saturday that the Chinese government has been comprehensively and strictly implementing the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea and fulfilling its international obligations. China does not permit any Chinese citizen or company to engage in activities that violate Security Council resolutions.

China firmly opposes the US imposing unilateral sanctions, Geng added, including "long-arm jurisdiction" of Chinese entities or individuals using domestic US laws.

China has lodged stern representations with the US over this, urging it to immediately stop such wrongdoings so as not to undermine bilateral cooperation.

Lü viewed US moves as an attempt to rein in both Koreas despite warming ties.

"The US will not allow South Korea to go far enough to make any independent decisions to reconcile with North Korea, or allow any opportunity for a weaker US-South Korea alliance," he said.


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