China has been talking tough to its neighbour and ally North Korea.
The foreign ministers of both countries met in Manila, hours after the UN Security Council imposed tough new sanctions on the isolated Pyongyang regime.
Beijing backed the resolution and was keen to use the bilateral meeting at the regional ASEAN summit in the Philippines to stress that it is putting pressure on North Korea.
“We actually had very thorough talks,” explained Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
“The Chinese side urged the North Koreans to handle calmly the UN Security Council resolutions just made against North Korea and not do anything unbeneficial towards the international community, such as launching missiles or conducting nuclear tests.”
There was unanimous Security Council support on Saturday for the new sanctions targeting North Korean exports. They could cost Pyongyang a billion dollars a year.
The US-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the current numbers of North Korean labourers working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
“We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem. Not even close. The North Korean threat has not left us, it is rapidly growing more dangerous,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.
“Further action is required. The United States is taking and will continue to take prudent defensive measures to protect ourselves and our allies,” she said.
Washington would continue annual joint military exercises with South Korea, Haley added.
US President Donald Trump hailed the vote on Twitter.
United Nations Resolution is the single largest economic sanctions package ever on North Korea. Over one billion dollars in cost to N.K.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 5 août 2017
China wants the use of the carrot as well as the stick, urging dialogue to resolve the standoff.
China and Russia also slammed the US deployment of the THAAD anti-missile defence system in South Korea.
More than a decade of UN sanctions have failed to stop North Korea’s nuclear programme and missile tests. In July alone, Kim Jong-un’s regime fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles.