China’s foreign minister said on Sunday new U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea were the right response to a series of missile tests, but dialogue was vital to resolve a complex and sensitive issue now at a “critical juncture”.
Wang Yi said the U.N. resolution’s call for a return to talks emphasized that diplomatic and peaceful means were necessary to avoid tensions and it was necessary to prevent the crisis from escalating.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue over Pyongyang’s two July intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
“After the implementation of the resolutions, the Korean peninsula issue enters into a critical juncture,” Wang told reporters on the sidelines of a regional foreign ministers’ meeting in Manila.
“We call on all sides to take a responsible attitude when making judgments and taking actions…. We cannot do one and neglect the other. Sanctions are needed but sanctions are not the final goal,” Wang said.
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new measures were a response to five nuclear tests and four long-range missile launches.
The latest, U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood and prohibits countries from hiring additional North Korean laborers. It also bans new joint ventures with North Korea.
The North Korea standoff is expected to dominate Monday’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which gathers 27 foreign ministers – including those of Russia, Japan, the United States, China and North and South Korea – to discuss security issues.