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Beijing says it won’t go beyond UN’s sanctions

Moon’s plan to ask China to stop selling oil is foiled in advance
Dec 11,2017
A top Chinese official said Saturday that Beijing will never accept a request that goes beyond existing United Nations Security Council resolutions to pressure Pyongyang to stop its nuclear brinkmanship, suggesting tough talks ahead for President Moon Jae-in on the eve of a visit to China.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a speech at a Symposium on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy on Saturday, addressing a wide range of diplomatic and security issues. The message was clear that Beijing will not give way on sensitive security issues, despite Moon’s plan to ask Chinese President Xi Jinping for a complete oil embargo on North Korea.

“China will not support or accept the demands of any party that are inconsistent with the resolutions or measures that go beyond the resolutions, still less unilateral actions, for they will only undermine the unity of the Security Council and the legitimate interests of other countries,” Wang said.

Last week, a senior South Korean presidential official said Moon plans to ask Xi to cut off all oil supplies to the North.

The international community is also discussing maritime interdictions as a means of pressuring North Korea. Wang’s remark could mean China’s rejection of the plan.

The Chinese foreign minister also touched on another sensitive issue between Seoul and Beijing: repairing bilateral relations strained over Seoul’s decision to allow the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile shield.

“For some time, China-ROK relations met with headwinds due to the Thaad issue,” Wang said, referring to South Korea by the abbreviation of its formal name, the Republic of Korea. “Since President Moon took office, he has opted for friendship and cooperation with China and the ROK side has made important public statements that the ROK will not consider additional Thaad deployment, not participate in the U.S. missile defense network and not develop a trilateral military alliance with the U.S. and Japan. Our two sides have reached agreement on handling the Thaad issue for the current stage.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula, which has been caught up in a vicious cycle of provocation and confrontation, has remained grave. However, it is important to highlight that the hope of peace remains alive, and the possibility of negotiation still exists,” Wang said. “War is by no means acceptable. China believes that parties need to give serious consideration to China’s ‘suspension for suspension’ proposal, take the first step toward de-escalation to at least take the situation out of the black hole of confrontation, and endeavor to create the right conditions and atmosphere for the resumption of dialogue and negotiation.”

The so-called “suspension for suspension” proposal means the North would freeze its nuclear and missile tests in return for the suspension of South Korea-U.S. military exercises. The Moon administration has tried to keep strategic ambiguity on the idea.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]