China halts tech exports to N.Korea

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/9 22:23:40

Ban will hinder nuclear development: expert

China on Sunday announced a comprehensive ban on exports of dual-use items and technologies for weapons of mass destruction to North Korea, a move that might be able to hinder the progress of North Korean experiments on nuclear technology effectively, observers noted.

In keeping with Resolution 2375 of the UN Security Council and based on the Foreign Trade Law of China, it is forbidden to export to North Korea dual-use items and technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and their transport, as well as dual-use items of regular weapons, according to a notice posted on the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) website Sunday night.

The notice was released by five national departments and institutes, including the China Atomic Energy Authority. It took effect on Sunday.

It listed 32 dual-use items, materials, devices, goods and technologies related to weapons of mass destruction, including particle accelerators, mass spectrometers, radioactive nuclides and centrifuges.

"The ban is comprehensive in all aspects," said Gui Liming, an expert on nuclear safety systems at Tsinghua University. "If it is stringently enforced, it would largely affect the progress of North Korea's nuclear experiments," he told the Global Times.

The centrifuge is the key device on the banned list, Gui said. Without a high-velocity centrifuge, North Korea will not be able to produce uranium-235, which is needed to make nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the banning of measurement devices would also greatly affect North Korea's ability to conduct nuclear experimentation, Gui said.

The notice also gave details on many other related materials and items, such as high-energy batteries, integrated circuits and certain radars.

Dual-use items that are also for civilian use, such as X-ray devices, are excluded, Gui said. This means local residents' lives will not be affected.

"And it is difficult to transform the devices from civil-use to military-use," he noted.

The ban comes two weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid an unofficial visit to China from March 25-28.

"It is a signal from China to international society that while the traditional Sino-North Korean friendship has recently been reinforced, China's efforts to promote the peninsula's denuclearization would not be ignored," said Da Zhigang, director of the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies at the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

China has been reducing its exports to North Korea in the past years to strictly enforce UN resolutions.

In January, MOFCOM announced a ban on exports to North Korea of iron, steel and other metals. It also limited crude oil exports.

"China's enforcement of UN sanctions on North Korea has put pressure on the US and South Korea," Da said.

North Korea has informed the US that it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula when Kim meets US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported Monday.

Newspaper headline: China halts tech exports to NK

Posted in: POLITICS

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