China Implements Sanctions on North Korea, Urges ‘Restraint’ from U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and China's President Xi Jinping arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.
AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB

The Chinese government is complaining about Trump’s aggressive stance on North Korea, but its implementation of U.S.-drafted sanctions Monday suggests it is in fact going along with the U.S. effort.

The Trump administration secured a major victory this month when China declined to use its veto at the U.N. Security Council and voted for strict sanctions against North Korea’s exports—after it had voiced opposition to using sanctions. The sanctions will slash a third of North Korea’s $3 billion exports.

Before the vote, China had indicated they would not support sanctions. U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi said that China did not support an “economic blockade,” and scolded the U.S. for being one of two parties that “refuse to move towards what is required by Security Council resolutions.” Days later, China voted for the U.S.-drafted resolution.

But in an apparent toughening of their stance, President Xi Jinping warned Trump over the weekend to exercise “restraint” over his language in relation to North Korea.

“At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said, according to the statement provided by China’s government.

However, despite the warning and amid concerns that China would approve the North Korea resolution but not actually follow through with it, China’s Commerce Ministry on Monday announced that China would ban imports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead ore, lead and seafood from North Korea—fulfilling China’s implementation of one of the key pillars of the U.N. resolution.

Even with that, the Chinese seemed reluctant, with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi telling Xinhua state news agency, “Given China’s traditional economic links with the DPRK, it is China that will mainly pay the price for the implementation of (the sanctions).”

Meanwhile, the state-controlled Global Times published a furious op-ed criticizing Trump on both North Korea and his reported decision to push for an investigation of China’s trade practices. The op-ed urged China to “turn its passivity around”:

The US frequently sends warships to patrol the South China Sea, and now it’s ramping up trade pressure on China. China should turn its passivity around. China will not act as an aggressive provocateur, but we should make Washington realize that China is not the one to be messed around with.

However, there was no sign of such a turning around from Beijing as it enforced the sanctions well within the 30-day limit set by the U.S.-drafted resolution.

Trump has taken an unusually hard line on China and had been outspoken in his disappointment that China had not worked with the U.S. to clamp down on North Korea.

The communist country’s recent backing down on North Korea may have something to do with Trump’s connecting of trade with the crisis in North Korea.

The Global Times blasted Trump for doing exactly that, calling the linking of the two “illogical.”

Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter:  @AdamShawNY

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