Beijing presses for easing of UN sanctions

Top News | AGENCIES 13 Jun 2018

China has suggested that the United Nations Security Council consider suspending or lifting sanctions against North Korea if the country is in compliance with UN resolutions and making progress in diplomatic negotiations.

Hours after the summit, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Security Council's sanctions against North Korea were designed to be adjusted and could be suspended or lifted in accordance with the North's actions.

The Security Council could consider loosening or lifting sanctions on North Korea "in accordance with the compliance of the [North Korean] side and the development of the situation," Geng said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

"Sanctions are not an end," he said. "We believe the Security Council should make efforts to support the diplomatic efforts at the present time."

The Chinese position echoes comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who called for a lifting of sanctions during a May visit to Pyongyang. US officials believe that harsh sanctions have been instrumental in the "maximum pressure campaign" to bring Kim to the negotiating table.

Trump ruled out immediate sanctions relief after his meeting with Kim, saying it would come "when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor."

South Korean President Moon Jae In hailed the outcome of the summit as a "historic event" that ended the last Cold War conflict.

"I offer my heartfelt congratulations and welcome the success of the historic North Korea-United States summit", Moon said.

"The June 12 Sentosa agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on Earth," he said.

Moon has made great efforts playing the role of mediator to bring the Cold War foes back to dialogue.

He praised Trump and Kim for their "courage and determination" not to settle for "that outdated and familiar reality but to take a daring step towards change."

He lionized Trump for achieving "a feat that no one else has ever delivered," adding Kim would also be remembered as "a leader who made a historic moment by taking the first bold step toward the world."

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised Kim's promise to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

"There is great meaning in Chairman Kim's clearly confirming to President Trump the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Abe told reporters in Tokyo.

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