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NUKEWARS
China confirms will limit oil exports to North Korea
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 23, 2017


China warns of 'complicated' situation on Korean Peninsula
Beijing (AFP) Sept 22, 2017 - China warned on Friday that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was "complicated and sensitive" and called for restraint on all sides after North Korea hinted that it might explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

Beijing's appeal came as a war of words between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un escalated, with the young North Korean leader calling the 71-year-old American president a "mentally deranged US dotard".

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.

"The situation on the Korean Peninsula now is complicated and sensitive," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

"All relevant parties should exercise restraint instead of provoking each other," he said.

"We believe that only if relevant parties meet each other halfway can they really solve the Korean Peninsula issue and truly realise peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

China has repeatedly called for peace talks, suggesting that Pyongyang halt its nuclear activities in return for the United States suspending military drills in the region.

When asked about Trump's statement Thursday that Chinese banks are curbing trade with North Korea, Lu responded: "As far as I know, the circumstances you described are not consistent with fact."

"As a matter of principle," he continued, "China has always been committed to implementing UN Security Council resolutions and fulfilling our international obligations."

Employees at Chinese bank branches in Beijing and the border city of Yanji -- a major trade and transportation hub between China and North Korea -- told AFP last week that they have suspended financial transactions for North Koreans.

Russia 'concerned' by escalation of Korea tensions after Trump, Kim exchange: Kremlin
Moscow (AFP) Sept 22, 2017 - Russia is "deeply concerned" by the escalation of tensions over North Korea, the Kremlin said on Friday, after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un exchanged stinging barbs.

"Moscow is deeply concerned by an escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula related to an exchange of rather rude statements replete with threats," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Moscow still calls on all interested parties to display restraint so as not to provoke this escalation even further," Peskov said, reiterating Russia's position that the problem surrounding the North's nuclear programme should be settled through negotiations only.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump used his maiden address to the UN General Assembly to warn "Rocket Man" Kim that he will "totally destroy" North Korea if it threatens the United States or its allies.

On Thursday Washington ramped up sanctions aimed at curtailing North Korea's nuclear weapons drive.

The move was the latest effort to tighten the screws on Pyongyang over its banned weapons programmes, following it sixth nuclear test -- the largest yet -- and the firing of two missiles over Japan in recent weeks.

In a rare personal attack published hours after Washington announced the tougher sanctions, Kim said Trump was "mentally deranged" and will "pay dearly" for his threat to destroy his country.

Kim's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.

Washington has refused to negotiate with Pyongyang, despite appeals to do so from China and Russia, who are both uneasy over Trump's bellicose tone.

China will limit exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1, its commerce ministry said, confirming Beijing's participation in new UN sanctions intended to rein in its rogue neighbour.

The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang last week in response to its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

Washington had initially sought a full oil embargo, but softened its stance to secure backing from Russia and China -- the North's sole ally and main trading partner, responsible for around 90 percent of its commerce.

In a statement posted to its website late Friday night, the ministry reiterated the terms of the latest resolution, writing that UN member states would not export more than 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products to the North in the final three months of 2017, and 2 million annually starting next year.

"Chinese government authorities will issue a notice based on the export situation when approaching the upper limit, and from that date implement a prohibition on exports of refined oil products to North Korea for the year," it said.

It added that China has issued a "comprehensive ban on imported textiles" from North Korea, reiterating another clause of the new sanctions that prohibits trade in both fabric and clothing.

Experts say this move could cut off a major source of foreign currency for Pyongyang, as textiles are one of country's major exports, estimated by IHS Markit analysts to value $750 million.

China supplies materials to the North, where they are made into clothing in factories using cheap labour, and often re-exported to China.

The announcement follows days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un's regime, which has raised international alarm.

The US has accused Beijing of not doing enough to pressure Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear programme.

China halted iron, iron ore and seafood imports after the previous round of sanctions against North Korea in August.

But Beijing fears pressuring Kim's regime into collapse, triggering a flood of refugees across its border and eliminating a strategic buffer separating China from the US military in South Korea.

Beijing has condemned the North's missile tests, but hopes to resolve the nuclear crisis through diplomatic means, pleading for a resumption of long-dormant six-nation talks.

It has pushed a tit-for-tat proposal in which North Korea suspends its arms programmes in return for a halt to US military drills in the region -- which has been ignored.

The majority of North Korea's oil likely comes from China, but the exact tally of oil exports remains unknown, as Beijing has not published such data since 2014.

According to UN customs data, China sent 6,000 barrels a day of oil products to North Korea in 2016.

rld/mtp/amz

IHS Global Insight

NUKEWARS
Kim's words find rapt audience in Pyongyang
Pyongyang (AFP) Sept 22, 2017
An expectant hush fell on the crowd as the giant screen outside Pyongyang's main train station went black on Friday afternoon. Workers, students in grey uniforms, travelling families surrounded by piles of bags, women shielding themselves from the late summer sun with frilly parasols, for several minutes they all gazed at the rectangle with anticipation. White text appeared on a red back ... read more

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