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NUKEWARS
North Korea's trade with China hit by sanctions
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 24, 2017


Japan hits nuclear-armed North Korea with fresh sanctions
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 25, 2017 - Japan said Friday it will impose fresh sanctions on North Korea by freezing the assets of Chinese and Namibian firms doing business with the nuclear-armed state.

The move against a half dozen organisations and a couple of individuals comes days after Washington expanded its own punitive measures against Chinese and Russian firms, as well as people linked to Pyongyang.

The US move drew an angry response from Beijing, North Korea's key ally, while Japanese media said Friday that Namibia has been tightening its links to the North in recent years.

"We will continue to make strong calls (for North Korea) to take actions toward denuclearisation," Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government's top spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

"Now is the time to apply pressure," he added.

The sanctions are aimed at disrupting the flow of cash funding North Korean weapons programmes, which are in violation of United Nations resolutions.

Japan has previously frozen the assets of entities and individuals involved in natural resources and research work related to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development programmes.

The US and its allies, particularly Japan and South Korea, have been on high alert in recent months as North Korea carried out successive missile tests.

Tensions have eased since North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un pulled back from a plan to send a salvo of missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.

But Pyongyang Wednesday disclosed significant technological advances and ambitious plans to further improve its missile capabilities.

US President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has called on China to play more active roles in convincing North Korea to stop threatening its neighbours and the US.

But China has so far been lukewarm on the idea, preferring to address the issue through long-stalled talks.

On Friday, China hit out the new Japanese sanctions.

"We firmly oppose any other unilateral sanction outside the framework of the UN Security Council, in particular those targeting Chinese entities and individuals," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

"We urge the Japanese side to stop this and if it insists on doing this wilfully, it must accept the consequences," she added, without elaborating.

China backed new United Nations sanctions against North Korea this month and has announced that it was upholding them by banning imports of iron, iron ore and seafood from its neighbour.

Beijing had already suspended imports of North Korean coal in February.

China's imports from North Korea slowed in July while its exports to the sanctions-hit country dwindled after surging in recent months, according to official Chinese statistics.

Overall, bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $456 million last month, down nearly seven percent from June, according to General Administration of Customs figures.

The decline is partly due to a steady decline in China's imports from its neighbor, which fell to $156.3 million in July, down three percent from the previous month and more than 30 percent year on year.

China, the main ally of Pyongyang and the recipient of some 90 percent of North Korea's exports, suspended all imports of coal in February in compliance with United Nations sanctions.

The aim of these restrictions is to deprive the Kim Jong-Un regime of crucial currency sources in order to check its controversial nuclear programme.

Following a seventh round of sanctions adopted in early August by the UN Security Council, Beijing recently announced it will also suspend its purchases of North Korean iron, lead and seafood.

Chinese exports to the Stalinist regime fell to $299.8 million in July, down more than eight percent from June.

But exports were up 55 percent year on year. North Korea considerably increased its purchases from the Asian giant in recent months, including appliances, mechanical parts, textiles and solar panels.

In Dandong, a Chinese border town, AFP found last month that vibrant trade continued despite sanctions - with many Chinese shops continuing to offer jewels made of North Korean gold and silver, which have long been banned from the other side.

US President Donald Trump has urged China to step up pressure on its turbulent neighbour.

The Trump administration angered China this week by slapping punitive measures on several Chinese and Russian companies accused of supporting the North Korean nuclear programme and attempting to evade US sanctions.

The key targets were Chinese coal importers.

NUKEWARS
China says new US sanctions 'won't help' cooperation on N.Korea
Beijing (AFP) Aug 23, 2017
China said Wednesday that new US sanctions targeting Chinese firms linked to North Korea "will not help" cooperation with Beijing in the nuclear crisis. The US Treasury Department Tuesday slapped punitive measures on a series of Chinese and Russian individuals and companies, accusing them of supporting North Korea's nuclear programme and trying to evade US sanctions. President Donald Tru ... read more

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