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China says won’t abandon North Korea despite backing sanctions

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

China says it will not abandon North Korea and sanctions are not the ‘fundamental way’ to resolve the issues pertaining to North Korea, despite Beijing’s support for a recent UN resolution against Pyongyang.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a news conference on Saturday that Beijing’s backing of a new series of UN sanctions against Pyongyang should not be construed as a basic change in China’s attitude toward North Korea.

“We always believe that sanctions are not the end of the Security Council actions, nor are sanctions the fundamental way to resolve the relevant issues,” the Chinese foreign minister told reporters.

On March 7, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution, drafted by the United States and China, against North Korea, tightening Pyongyang’s financial dealings and adding new names to the UN sanctions blacklist.

Ahead of the UN vote, Pyongyang threatened to launch “preemptive” nuclear strikes on the United States to defend itself in the event that Washington ignited a nuclear war.

North Korea also canceled all agreements on non-aggression with South Korea and cut the hotline between Pyongyang and Seoul.

On March 8, South Korea warned that the North would “perish from earth” if it went ahead with its threats to attack the South.

On the same day, China called for “calm and restraint.” Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “China calls on relevant parties to exercise calm and restraint, and avoid actions that might further escalate tensions.”

“We believe the resolution is a balanced one,” Hua stated. “China is objective and fair on this matter and has played a constructive role throughout the discussion at the Security Council.”

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