New US sanctions on NK affecting China, Russia
Global Times

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Sanctions by the US against North Korea outside the UN resolution have affected third parties like China and Russia, which will not be helpful to push the current détente further, experts said.

The US is strengthening sanctions unilaterally against North Korea. 

According to US media, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Wednesday sanctioned nine entities, 16 individuals, and six vessels in response to North Korea's ongoing development of weapons of mass destruction, and many of these targets are located in China and Russia.

"Due to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, tensions have been eased by the two Koreas, but the US doesn't want signs of compromise to North Korea since North Korea has made no promise on the nuclear issue," Lü Chao, a researcher on North Korea at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

It is very clear that the latest US sanctions are not under the framework of the UN Security Council resolution, and it has affect third parties including China and Russia, Lü said. "The US has no right to sanction companies located in China, and even if companies or individuals in China violate the UN resolution, it's the Chinese government's responsibility to handle it."

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at Thursday's regular press conference that "at present, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has achieved a hard-won opportunity for détente. China hopes the positive exchange between the North and South will be turned into political dialogue for solving the peninsula crisis." 

At the same time, it is also important that the exchange between the North and South Koreas be turned into the dialogue between the US and North Korea, Hua said. "We hope the US and North Korea can exert efforts to seize this opportunity to achieve significant progress toward a solution."

All for show

On Wednesday, North Korea sent a message to "all Koreans at home and abroad," encouraging Korean people to work together to realize reunification of the nation. 

Experts said that the message is just a show because without a compromise on the nuclear issue, there would be no reason or grounds to reunite.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, "an appeal to all Koreans at home and abroad was adopted at the joint conference of the government, political parties and organizations" of North Korea held on Wednesday.

The appeal said, "Let us wage an energetic drive to defuse the acute military tensions and create a peaceful climate on the Korean Peninsula!"

Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University, said this proves that North Korea is suffering from pressures brought by international sanctions, so it wants to use reunification, which is shared by both Koreas, in hopes of getting a breakthrough from South Korea. 

"In the name of reunification to reduce sanctions pressure. That's what North Korea is doing," Zheng said. 

"This is just a show, and the South Korean government doesn't have public support to work with North Korea, because they can't skip the nuclear issue when talking about reunification," Da Zhigang, director of the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Northeast Asian Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.