China won't commit to tougher sanctions on North Korea

"Sanctions are not an end in themselves," the Chinese foreign minister said.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Jan. 27, 2016 at 10:01 AM
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BEIJING, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday but could not obtain an agreement from Beijing to toughen sanctions against North Korea.

The two sides did agree that a new United Nations resolution against Pyongyang is necessary in response to the North's claim of a "successful" hydrogen bomb test, the BBC reported.

Wang, however, made it clear that China did not view sanctions in a positive light.

"Sanctions are not an end in themselves," Wang said, adding any new resolution "should not provoke new tension in the situation."

Wang said China is committed to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula but other values, including "the commitment to uphold peace and stability, the commitment to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation" are equally important.

China is concerned a North Korea collapse could lead to a refugee crisis at its border.

Kerry took a stronger approach to recent events and the dangers of North Korea's continued testing of nuclear weapons, The Washington Post reported.

"Kim Jong Un's actions are reckless, and they are dangerous," Kerry said. "Whether or not he achieved the explosion of a hydrogen weapon is not what makes the difference. It's that he is trying.

"North Korea poses an overt threat, a declared threat, to the world, and it has stated its intention to develop a thermonuclear weapon."

Kerry said the United States would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, and suggested China-North Korea trade and Chinese supply of coal and fuel could be the target of proposed sanctions.

The issue of Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons overshadowed other topics, including U.S. opposition to China's land reclamation activities in the South China Sea.

In an earlier segment of his tour, Kerry had urged leaders in Laos and Cambodia to assemble a "unified ASEAN" that could protect maritime rights.

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