Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said his country opposes the United States’ new sanctions on North Korea, announced on Wednesday, which aim to halt the rogue regime’s worrying nuclear tests from early this year. On Thursday, Kang warned the United States not to harm China’s “reasonable interests,” despite China’s joint authorship of a United Nations resolution for increased sanctions against North Korea, which passed unanimously earlier this month.
The new sanctions, imposed by President Obama Wednesday, threaten to ban from the global financial system anyone who does business with broad swaths of North Korea’s economy, including financial, mining, and transportation sectors. These “secondary sanctions” will compel banks to freeze the assets of any individual who breaks the blockade.
When asked about these sanctions, Kang detailed three major concerns:
First, as I’ve said many times before, China always opposes any country imposing unilateral sanctions.
Second, under the present situation where the situation on the Korean Peninsula is complex and sensitive, we oppose any moves that may further worsen tensions there.
Third, we have clearly stressed many times in meetings with the relevant country, any so-called unilateral sanctions imposed by any country should neither affect nor harm China’s reasonable interests.
In other words, “Don’t do anything regarding North Korea without us, we still want to trade with them, and don’t blame us if the rogue state lashes out.”
In all fairness, North Korea’s January 6 nuclear test and its launching — on February 7 — of a rocket that hints at the country’s ability to build an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) put China in a difficult position. The world’s most populous country is the sole major ally of the rogue regime, and has major trade ties with the country, but it disapproves of North Korea’s nuclear program.
While China co-authored — with the United States — tough new UN sanctions for the rogue state, it has emphasized that sanctions are not the answer, pushing for a resumption of talks instead.
As previously reported by PJ Media’s own Claudia Rosett, the Obama administration appears to have attempted just such a resumption of talks — days before the nuclear test. Ironically, the administration proposed that dismantling North Korea’s atomic-weapons program be part of the talks, rather than a precondition for any negotiation, as has been previous U.S. policy. Despite this huge concession, the rogue state said no, and proceeded to its January 6 test — the fourth such foray into nuclear capability — which it openly advertised as a hydrogen bomb.
Obama’s steeper sanctions follow one of the rare bipartisan agreements of his presidency. On February 18, Obama signed a North Korea sanctions bill with strong bipartisan support — it was authored by a congressional Republican and a Senate Democrat. There’s nothing quite like the threat of nuclear war to bring Democrats and Republicans together.
Will Kang’s warning lead China to retaliate against the United States, or will it cause Obama to again back down from strong American leadership?