China says willing to pay the price for new N.Korea sanctions

Vietnam challenges China at security talks

The North Korean authorities warned that they were ready for "physical action" in response to the new economic restrictions.

Trump's administration began floating potential plans to punish China for its trade practices in what was widely perceived as a reaction to China's inaction on North Korea.

North Korea on Tuesday slammed a new UN Security Council Resolution tightening sanctions against the renegade regime. Has China been cowed by Trump's pressure into a more accommodating position? But they appeared to take pains to avoid a casual meeting. And the sanctions may not prove effective. It has long accused the United States and South Korea of escalating tensions by conducting military drills. On Sunday, following a late-night conversation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump tweeted: "Just completed call with President Moon of South Korea". "But North Korea has been able to evade sanctions in the past and it's not clear to me things are going to be much different this time".

In a front page commentary published on Monday, the overseas edition of the Communist Party's official People's Daily said North Korea's open flouting of United Nations rules with its missile launches meant that it had to be punished, but sanctions had to be targeted. But he was quick to stress the importance of everyone enforcing the new, tougher sanctions. All countries are now banned from importing North Korean coal, iron, lead and seafood products, and from letting in more North Korean laborers whose remittances help fund Kim Jong Un's regime.

Despite tweeting last week that the USA was "done talking" about North Korea, Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also emphasized in her speech Saturday that, "we want only security and prosperity for all nations-including North Korea". Triggering an economic meltdown in North Korea would inevitably produce a spillover effect in China, he said.

As former State Department sanctions coordinator Richard Nephew writes Monday for the North Korea analysis site 38 North, the pressure from the new sanctions is pointless unless the overall strategy includes negotiations. If not, what new options does the United States have? He says the North is "ready to teach the US a severe lesson with its nuclear strategic force". Because the US wants to enlist China to pressure North Korea, China's ally and neighbor, into walking back its weapons threats. China opposes Pyongyang's nuclear weapons, and was uncharacteristically forthright in saying so this week.

Tillerson did not meet with North Korea's envoy, Ri Yong Ho.

More news: Trump's harsh language on North Korea has little precedent, experts say

Tillerson said he asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "several clarifying questions" and said the US will respond by September 1.

South Korea's foreign minister joined her counterparts from the USA and Japan for a meeting in the Philippines in which Tillerson touted efforts to persuade nations to stop using North Korean labor.

In a separate statement, the White House said the two leaders "affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world". Four further atomic tests since then have honed its capability to miniaturize a nuclear device.

Two unprecedented tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles by North Korea last month were the latest signs that its weapons program is approaching the point of no return.

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear program. Any such action may now face delays, as Washington will first have to gauge Beijing's implementation of the new penalties.

In short, China's cooperation on sanctions seems to rest on the conditions that the US will not pursue an aggressive military approach and will soon engage in dialogue with North Korea; for that reason, the United Nations resolution also calls for the resumption of the suspended Six Party Talks. North Korean shows scant interest in playing by America's rules. The stances reflect a fundamental impasse that no amount of sanctions may be able to change. Beijing praised Tillerson for declaring the US wasn't seeking regime change in North Korea.

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