Inkstone
    Apr
    10
    2018
    Apr
    10
    2018
    China is keeping up the pressure on ‘Comrade’ Kim
    China is keeping up the pressure on ‘Comrade’ Kim
    POLITICS

    China is keeping up the pressure on ‘Comrade’ Kim

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    by
    Toh Han Shih
    Toh Han Shih
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    As warmly as Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on his first visit to Beijing last month, China appears to have kept up the pressure on North Korea.

    The Chinese authorities said Sunday they would immediately ban exports to North Korea of items that could be used to develop weapons.

    The list of 32 banned items includes particle accelerators, centrifuges and software related to weapon-making, according to a statement issued by China’s Ministry of Commerce, along with four other government bodies.

    An undated picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency in September 2017 shows the test launch of the medium-and-long range Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket.
    An undated picture released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency in September 2017 shows the test launch of the medium-and-long range Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket. Photo: KCNA via KNS

    The export ban was part of the sanctions the United Nations imposed in September in reaction to North Korea’s sixth nuclear test earlier that month.

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    China is North Korea’s biggest trading partner, and plays a crucial role to the pariah state’s survival as it enters into denuclearization talks.

    China’s move to impose the export ban on Tuesday signals that it won’t drop the pressure on North Korea despite a thaw in the two countries’ tensions.

    People walk across a bridge from Hyesan, North Korea, towards China.
    People walk across a bridge from Hyesan, North Korea, towards China. Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

    When Kim visited Beijing last month, he was warmly received and referred to as “comrade” by the official Chinese news agency.

    Kim is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27. And US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would meet with Kim next month or early June.

    The Trump administration has called for a policy of “maximum pressure” on China, and Trump has accused China of not complying with all UN sanctions.

    As the US-North Korea summit looms, Beijing seems to have drastically reduced trade with North Korea, a further sign of its willingness to keep up the pressure on its neighbor and historical ally.

    TOH HAN SHIH
    COLUMNIST
    TOH HAN SHIH
    Han Shih is a contributor to Inkstone. He was senior Asia correspondent of MLex, a media organization focusing on regulatory risk, from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the South China Morning Post for roughly 10 years.

    TOH HAN SHIH
    COLUMNIST
    TOH HAN SHIH
    Han Shih is a contributor to Inkstone. He was senior Asia correspondent of MLex, a media organization focusing on regulatory risk, from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the South China Morning Post for roughly 10 years.

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