June 16, 2016 09:28
China on Tuesday banned the sale to North Korea of about 40 goods and technologies that could be used to make nuclear weapons and missiles.
The move came two months after Beijing banned trade of 25 goods like iron ore, coal and aviation fuel after the UN Security Council adopted sanctions against the North on March 2.
The ban delivers a clear message to Washington, which has doubted China is serious about taking action against the North following a visit from former North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong to Beijing.
The 40 banned goods and technologies are so-called dual-use items that also have a harmless civilian application but can be used to make nuclear and biochemical weapons and missiles.
Twelve can be diverted for developing nuclear weapons and missiles. They include magnetic alloy materials, high-strength aluminum alloy, filament and microfilament, coil winding machines, laser welding equipment, plasma cutters, and metallic hydrogen compounds.
Also on the list are 14 chemical materials like aluminum chloride, sulfur trioxide, and tributylamine that can be used to make biochemical weapons, and lab equipment such as chemical reactors, cooler condensers, pumps, valves and distillers.
In early March, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution banning trade of coal, iron ores, and aviation fuel with the North in response to its fourth nuclear test in January. The dual-use items were added in April.
The U.S. State Department welcomed Beijing's latest action. "The United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea, and we welcomed China's agreement on the strongest sanctions the Security Council has imposed in a generation," said spokeswoman Anna Richey-Allen.
"Chinese officials have made clear that they intend to implement the resolution. These measures appear to be a step toward following through on those commitments."
Park Byung-kwang at the Institute for National Security Strategy, said, "China is taking action against the North faster than in 2013 due to the far heavier international pressure."
In 2013 China dragged its heels for six months. "But the latest ban carries symbolic significance rather than dealing a substantial blow to the North because the North's nuclear weapons development is already far too advanced," he added.
Meanwhile, there are rumors that Chinese security forces have tightened checks on the border with the North, Radio Free Asia reported.
RFA quoted a source in the Chinese city of Tumen as saying that border checks were tightened after Pyongyang publicly pledged "retaliation" against South Korea over recent defections of North Korean restaurant workers from China.
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