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NUKEWARS
Japan sanctions Chinese firms to pressure NKorea
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) July 28, 2017


China, Russia responsible for N.Korea threat: Tillerson
Washington (AFP) July 29, 2017 - China and Russia bear "unique and special reponsibility" for the growing threat posed by North Korea, the US Secretary of State said Saturday following Pyongyang's latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Leader Kim Jong-Un said the test confirmed all the US mainland was within striking range after the North's second ICBM this month on Friday.

"As the principal economic enablers of North Korea's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability," Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

The launch was a "blatant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community," he added.

China is the regime's last remaining major ally, while Russia's Vladimir Putin has warned the international community should not "lose its cool" over the nuclear-armed regime.

US President Donald Trump denounced the latest ICBM launch as a "reckless and dangerous" action and rejected Pyongyang's claims that such tests helped ensure its security.

"By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people," he said in a statement.

Friday's test came just hours after the US Senate passed bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korea's accelerated drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability poses a thorny policy challenge for Trump, who is at loggerheads with Beijing over how to handle Kim Jong-Un's regime.

In all, six sets of UN sanctions have been imposed on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006, but two resolutions adopted last year significantly toughened the sanctions regime.

Japan on Friday slapped sanctions on two Chinese firms, including a bank accused of laundering North Korean cash, amid concerns Pyongyang is prepping for another missile test, the government said.

Japan has stepped up calls for further sanctions against North Korea since Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile earlier this month in defiance of repeated UN resolutions.

The test has raised tensions in the region, pitting Washington, Tokyo and Seoul against China, Pyongyang's last remaining major ally.

Japan's move has added further acrimony to often fraught bilateral relations with China and drew a harsh response from Beijing.

Despite being major trading and investment partners they are frequently at odds over a maritime territorial dispute and lingering tensions over Japan's history of aggression in the first half of the 20th century.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said five entities, including two Chinese organisations, and nine individuals will be put on Japan's blacklists in connection with ties to North Korea.

They will be "newly subject to asset freezing" and other unilateral punishment, Kishida said without elaborating or naming any of them.

"It is important to strengthen pressure so that North Korea should act toward denuclearisation," Kishida told reporters.

"We will urge North Korea to take concrete action toward the resolution of issues," he said.

The Nikkei daily said among the five organisations are China's Bank of Dandong, a Chinese shipping firm and a North Korean trading house dealing with coal and other commodities

The Bank of Dandong is accused of money laundering for North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

China immediately denounced the Japanese sanctions.

"We firmly oppose any other country to impose unilateral sanctions outside the framework of the UN Security Council and we especially oppose the sanctions targeted at Chinese enterprises and individuals," Lu Kang, spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, told a regular press briefing in Beijing.

"I would like to tell Japan that China will not accept the wrongdoing and will require Japan to withdraw this wrong decision," he said, warning the sanctions will "create major political hurdles for China-Japan relations".

The United States imposed similar sanctions on the same bank as President Donald Trump said Beijing's efforts to put the brakes on Pyongyang's nuclear drive had failed.

China, which borders North Korea and is considered its only major ally, argues that negotiations are the best way to persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and missile activities.

The Pentagon has picked up signs that North Korea is preparing for another missile test, a US defence official said earlier this week.

The official said the test would be of an intermediate-range missile or North Korea's ICBM -- known as a KN-20 or a Hwasong-14.

It would be the second time Pyongyang has tested an ICBM, after the July 4 rocket launch that prompted global alarm.

NUKEWARS
US sees progress in push for 'pretty serious' N. Korea sanctions
United Nations, United States (AFP) July 25, 2017
US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday said there was progress in talks with China on imposing what she termed as "pretty serious" new UN sanctions on North Korea in response to its first ICBM launch. The United States has been locked in negotiations with China for nearly three weeks on a new raft of measures, and Haley said China was negotiating with Russia to win its backing for possible tou ... read more

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