China Backs UN Sanctions Targeting North Korean Diplomats

China and the U.S. have agreed to back additional sanctions on North Korea to punish the Communist nation for its February nuclear test explosion, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said today after a meeting of the Security Council.

A vote to adopt the measure is expected this week. Russia, which like China has veto-power in the council, also supports the sanctions, according to the RIA news agency, which cited citing Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

The new measures target “illicit activity” by North Korean diplomats and bulk transfers of cash by the North Korean regime. They’re aimed at halting the North’s imports of technology for its weapons programs as well as its ability to raise cash by selling its nuclear, missile and military technology to other countries.

China is North Korea’s closest ally. China’s support in the Security Council was necessary for approval of additional sanctions. North Korea conducted its nuclear test despite pressure from China not to do so.

The proposal “takes UN sanctions imposed on North Korea to the next level,” Rice said. “The commitment to take further significant measures in the event of further tests will demonstrate clearly to North Korea the cost of its provocations.”

North Korea said earlier today it may cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War, citing the U.S. sanctions effort as well as U.S.-South Korean joint military drills, the Associated Press reported. The Korean People’s Army Supreme Command warned of “surgical strikes” meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula and of an indigenous, “precision nuclear striking tool.”

‘Strong Signal’

The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war since a truce, rather than a peace treaty, ended the three-year conflict in 1953.

China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong said he was pleased with the result, which he said made clear to North Korea that the international community wants to remove nuclear arms from the Korean peninsula and see an end to the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

“A strong signal must be sent out that a nuclear test is against the will of the international community,” Li said after the Security Council session. “They have got to bring an end to that program.”

‘Brandish Threats’

In Doha, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to take “responsible actions for peace” rather than make threats.

“The world would be better served if he would direct his people, and make a decision himself, to engage in a legitimate dialogue in legitimate negotiations in order to resolve not just American concerns, but the concerns of the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Russians and everybody in the region,” Kerry said at a news conference.

“We will continue to do what is necessary to defend our nation and the region, together with our allies, but our preference is not to brandish threats at each other,” Kerry said. “It is to get to the table and negotiate a peaceful resolution.”

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