China prepared to pay the price of North Korea sanctions – foreign minister
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China prepared to pay the price of North Korea sanctions – foreign minister

CHINA’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday the country will pay the greatest price of sanctions on North Korea due to its economic ties with the pariah state, but will abide by the United Nations resolution in the interest of world peace.

During the Asean Regional Forum in Manila, Wang said sanctions highlighted the international community’s opposition to the North’s nuclear weapons programme and continued missile tests.

“Owing to China’s traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying.

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“But in order to protect the international non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will as before fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution.”

China has repeatedly said it was committed to enforcing increasingly tough UN resolutions on North Korea, though it has also said what it terms “normal” trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected.

2017-08-08T082902Z_2008726817_RC1866E26C70_RTRMADP_3_ASEAN-PHILIPPINES-CHINA-WANG

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho (back) arrives with Wang Yi to attend the closing ceremony of the 50th Asean Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines, on Aug 8, 2017. Source: Reuters/Erik De Castro

The latest UN resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. They are likely to slash the country’s US$3 billion annual export revenue by a third.

It also prohibits countries from increasing the numbers of North Korean labourers currently working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.

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“We can certainly air our views, but meanwhile, we also could listen to the DPRK’s [North Korea’s] opinions. I think it’s fair and helpful,” Wang said on Monday, as quoted by Chinese state media outlet Xinhua.

The minister also praised the remarks of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, after the US made a series of guarantees including it did not seek a regime change in North Korea or an accelerated reunification of the Korean peninsula.

“Our stand is clear. That is to realise denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula, safeguard peace and stability and solve problems through dialogue and negotiations,” Wang said.

Additional reporting by Reuters