China wants USA to have dialogue with N. Korea

China says it'll halt all coal imports from North Korea from Sunday for the rest of 2017, amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang's most recent missile test last week.

North Korea launched a series of missiles and conducted two nuclear tests in 2016 in its quest to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the USA mainland.

That may indicate it was in part a North Korean attempt to sow division between China and the United States, which has pressed Beijing to bring more pressure on Pyongyang, said Wang Dong, an expert on Northeast Asian geopolitics at Peking University. However, this move goes significantly further, halting imports until the year's end which will have significant impacts on the North Korean economy.

The Chinese government has announced on Saturday (18 February) it will stop coal imports from North Korea.

"Beijing still wants to bring him to a negotiation table - and that's where the USA role lies - because the collapse of the regime is right now outside China's realistic capacity to handle". China could either seek to deter unwanted US actions (such as closer USA relations with Taipei) by threatening to increase its cooperation with North Korea, or make hollow promises to increase pressure on North Korea to gain concession in negotiations with the United States. Especially important are the responses from China, which has supported North Korea by such means as provision of crude oil. Either way, China could exploit USA beliefs about its ability to control North Korea in a way that supports Beijing's interests but makes little difference in arresting the DPRK nuclear program.

The decision came after North Korea's February 11 missile test, as tensions escalate over the reclusive state's defiance of United Nations resolutions.

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The latest development comes just days after the suspicious killing of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un's half brother, Kim Jong-nam, at an airport in Malaysia. "Xi is less willing to tolerate these provocations", he said. Kim reportedly supervised the test of the missile, which flew about 310 miles east before falling into the East Sea, according to South Korea's defense ministry.

Earlier Friday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used his first meeting with Wang to urge Beijing to help rein in North Korea after its series of nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Earlier this month, Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile, its first direct challenge to the worldwide community since President Donald Trump took office on January 20. He had lived outside North Korea for many years and had close links to China.

The Yomiuri ShimbunIn order to stop the reckless run of North Korea, the global community must further increase its pressure on Pyongyang.

US and South Korean military forces are preparing for a major annual joint exercise in March.

  • Adam Floyd