The United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed further sanctions on North Korea stemming from the aftermath of Pyongyang’s successful detention of what is thought to be a hydrogen bomb.
While Donald Trump sought to place North Korea under a complete oil embargo, it was widely understood that China and Russia would veto such a measure as both countries are opposed to what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called “strangling” the people of the DPRK with sanctions.
While some in the US media hypothesised that oil sanctions would starve North Korea of energy, in reality, North Korea is already extracting enough of its own domestic crude reserves to fit its current needs. It is further speculated that it would not be difficult, even with existing equipment and new domestically built extraction devices, for North Korea to extract even more of its largely untapped oil reserves.
The compromise resolution caps North Korea’s refined oil imports at 2 million barrels while freezing exports of crude at their current levels.
More crucially, the resolution places a ban on North Korean textile exports which some experts say is an industry worth $752 million per annum to Pyongyang.
This is the second time in less than two months that the UN Security Council has voted to place further sanctions on North Korea.
President Vladimir Putin however, remains committed to a trilateral economic infinitive which would see the two Korean states cooperate with Russia as a means to ease tensions on the peninsula through trade and prosperity inducing measures.
China, like Russia, also remains committed to the ‘double-freeze’ pace initiative which would require North Korea to cease its weapons tests while also order South Korea and the US to do the same. Additionally, the double-freeze requires a pause to provocative US led military drills in South Korea as well as the cessation of deliveries of the THAAD missile systems from the US to South Korea.
The Chinese foreign ministry has released the following statement regarding the double-freeze:
“In disregard of widespread opposition from the international community, the DPRK conducted another nuclear test, which severely violated the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. The Chinese side approves that the UN Security Council takes necessary measures in response to this. On September 11, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2375, which reflected the common position of its members to safeguard the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region, promote the denuclearization of the Peninsula and uphold the international non-proliferation regime. Meanwhile, the Resolution reaffirms the commitment to maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, calls for the peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic and political means, supports the resumption of the six-party talks and emphasizes that all relevant parties should take measures to reduce the tensions on the Peninsula. The Chinese side hopes that the contents of Resolution 2375 can be implemented in a comprehensive and complete manner.
As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese side is closely following the developments of the situation on the Peninsula. It is the consistent position held by China to stay committed to realizing the denuclearization of the Peninsula, upholding the peace and stability of the Peninsula and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation with respect to dealing with the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, including participating in the deliberations of the UN Security Council. With a view to resolving the Korean Peninsula issue, all relevant parties should take their due responsibility, play their due role, earnestly take measures to ease the tensions on the Peninsula and resume dialogue and negotiation. The DPRK should observe the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, respect the collective voice of the international community and stop pushing forward the nuclear and missile programs. The US, the ROK and other parties should also avoid taking the actions that will further complicate the situation. The Korean Peninsula issue must be resolved peacefully. Military solution will lead us nowhere and China will by no means allow the Peninsula to descend into war and chaos.
The “suspension for suspension” initiative and “dual-track approach” proposed by China are practical and viable ways to address the Korean Peninsula issue. We call upon relevant parties to give positive considerations to them and work with China to stay committed to promoting dialogue and consultation and make efforts to advance the denuclearization of the Peninsula and realize the peace and stability of the Peninsula.
The Chinese side is firmly opposed to the deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK. This action severely jeopardizes the strategic security of China and the other countries in the region and undermines the trust and cooperation of all relevant parties on the Korean Peninsula issue. It is not helpful to advancing the denuclearization of the Peninsula or safeguarding the long-term stability of the Peninsula”.