Long considered North Korea’s one and only ally around the world and certainly its top trading partner, China appears to be ready to join most of the rest of the world in its opinion of North Korea. China has been criticized quite a bit by U.S. President Donald Trump for not doing enough to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
Things appear to be changing now, though. Beijing, which has long been in favor of taking a diplomatic approach as a way to end the North Korea crisis, might have had a change of heart on the global stage. In a statement just this morning, China sided with the United Nations and their idea that taking action over the North’s hydrogen bomb was the way to go.
“Given the new developments on the Korean peninsula, China agrees that the U.N. Security Council should make a further response and take necessary measures,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters.
Wang added, “Any new actions taken by the international community against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) should serve the purpose of curbing the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, while at the same time be conducive to restarting dialogue and consultation.”
Wang’s thinking is that joining the U.N. and taking action against North Korea is the best way to resolve the situation. By sending the message to Kim Jong Un’s regime that even your closest ally disapproves of what you’re doing, China hopes to finally get the attention of North Korea and bring a potentially disastrous situation to a peaceful end.
Although China did not specifically mention any sanctions, the comment by Wang came after the U.S. had already pushed for economic restrictions on the North and, in particular, its leader, Kim Jong Un. The U.S. could very well ask the Security Council of the United Nations to put an oil embargo in place, ban textile exports outright, and even freeze Kim’s assets.
Such moves will be very hurtful to North Korea, especially since they will come on the heels of the council voting unanimously just over a month ago on sanctions that would cut $1 billion from North Korea’s export revenue.
Wang’s comments came after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump reportedly spoke Wednesday night on, among other things, the proper way to deal with North Korea. Trump came away from that conversation feeling good and wanted to hold off on attacking North Korea for the time being.
North Korea’s Minister of External Economic Relations, Kim Yong-jae, after accusing the United States of wanting to start a war, said North Korea would respond to any sanctions with “powerful counter-measures.”
Kim’s regime conducted the country’s sixth overall nuclear test Sunday, and while it remains unclear if the North did test a much more powerful hydrogen bomb, experts have agreed the test appeared to be the strongest ever done by the authoritarian government.
[Featured Image by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]