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After United Nations Security Council voting for sanctions, China tells North Korea to act ‘smart’

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged North Korea to act “smart,” following the imposition of harsh sanctions on Pyongyang by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which includes North Korean ally Beijing.
The onus is on Pyongyang “to make the right and smart decision,” Wang said on Sunday after holding talks with his North Korean counterpart Ri Hong-yo.
“We actually had very thorough talks,” Wang said, adding “The Chinese side urged the North Korean side to calmly handle the resolutions the UN Security Council just made towards North Korea and to not do anything unbeneficial towards the international community such as a nuclear test.”
Wang, who was speaking to reporters ahead of a regional security forum in the Philippine capital, Manila, voiced Beijing’s support for the latest US-drafted sanctions but simultaneously emphasized diplomacy.
He called for the resumption of the talks that used to involve South Korea, North Korea, the United States, China, Russia, and Japan — all of whom are present in Manila to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum — in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the Korean issue.
“It’s not that easy but it is a direction we need to work together towards,” Wang said of the six-country talks, which used to be hosted by China and were stopped in 2009.
The UNSC on Saturday unanimously passed a US-drafted sanctions resolution against North Korea over its missile and nuclear military programs. China, which is a permanent member of the UNSC with a veto power, opted to vote for the sanctions.
“Only dialog and negotiation is the correct way out to address the Korean Peninsula issue,” the Chinese foreign minister said in his Sunday remarks, however.
Wang did not disclose what Ri had told him during their meeting.
The US-drafted resolution imposed a full ban on North Korea’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, and lead ore, as well as fish and seafood. The sanctions are meant to deprive Pyongyang of $1 billion in annual revenue.
The sweeping measures were the first of their scope to be imposed on North Korea since US President Donald Trump took office. Trump had been stressing how China could play a large role in containing North Korea.
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, expressed satisfaction with the new sanctions, saying it increased pressure on Pyongyang to a new level.
Tillerson in Manila
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is in the Philippines to attend the annual ASEAN summit, has no plans to hold talks with Ri, his aides have said.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (photo by AFP)
However, Tillerson is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang, who are both perceived by Washington to be players in the North Korean issue.

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