Tillerson hails UN sanctions, as Chinese Minister rebukes North Korea at ASEAN meeting

A day after the United Nations Security Council passed its toughest sanctions against North Korea, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson met with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts in hopes of ratcheting up pressure on Pyongyang.

Mr. Tillerson hailed the United Nations vote, which could cost North Korea nearly $1 billion a year, or about one-third of its foreign earnings.

Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, held direct talks with his North Korean counterpart, Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong. In unusually strong terms, he urged North Korea to show restraint. “Do not violate the U.N.’s decision or provoke the international society’s good will by conducting missile launching or nuclear tests,” Mr. Wang said.

He also said, “Of course, we would like to urge other parties like the United States and South Korea to stop increasing tensions.”

The top US diplomat for the region, Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, gave credit to the Chinese for supporting Saturday’s vote in the United Nations against North Korea.

But Ms. Thornton cautioned that Beijing has often failed to follow through on its promised tough measures against Pyongyang. China accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade, and it has long avoided tough economic sanctions against the North for fear that a collapse of the government would lead to a flood of refugees, as well as the North’s reunification with the South, putting a close American ally directly on China’s border.

[New York Times]

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