China has called on the international community to put in constructive efforts in an attempt to ease escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea described the UN’s latest round of sanctions against Pyongyang as an “act of war” and tantamount to a total economic blockade.
“In the present situation, we call on all countries to exercise restraint and make proactive and constructive efforts to ease the tensions on the peninsula and appropriately resolve the issue,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a daily news briefing in capital Beijing on Monday.
Her comments came three days after the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a US-drafted resolution that, among other crippling sanctions, sought to ban almost 90 percent of the North-bound exports of refined petroleum products by limiting them to 500,000 barrels a year. It further capped crude oil supplies to North Korea at 4 million barrels a year.
The resolution also committed the UNSC to further reductions if it were to carry out another nuclear test or launch another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The UN Security Council voted unanimously in favor of imposing new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.
The council said it had adopted the punitive measures in a bid to force the North’s leaders to halt their contentious nuclear and missile programs, less than a month after Pyongyang announced that it had successfully tested an ICBM in a “breakthrough” that places the US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons, whose warheads could endure re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.
The controversial test drew quick and widespread condemnations, with Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the UN, threatening to destroy Pyongyang in case of a possible war.—Agencies