China cracking down on North after UN sanctions

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China cracking down on North after UN sanctions


North Korean Ambassador to China Ji Jae-ryong, center, gets into a car outside the Great Hall of the People after attending the closing session of the annual Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing yesterday. [AP/NEWSIS]

China lost patience with North Korea after its third nuclear test in February and supported tougher sanctions against its ally, sources in Beijing told the JoongAng Ilbo.

And Beijing is cracking down on North Korean cargo shipments, delaying construction of an electricity transmission tower and cutting back on imports of seafood in the wake of the test.

China supported United Nations Security Council Resolution 2094, which was passed unanimously by all 15 member states of the council last Thursday and included new sanctions such as strengthening inspections of suspicious cargo heading to and from the North and banning luxury goods to the North’s ruling elite such as jewelry, yachts and race cars.

Tougher financial sanctions were also imposed to prevent the North from continuing its nuclear and missile programs on individuals and entities suspected of being involved in weapons development or distribution.

China had warned North Korea against the test in advance, and its attitude toward the sanctions were considered crucial to whether they would succeed. Sources in Beijing say China is already taking them seriously.

In compliance with the resolution, China imposed stricter inspection of cargo going to and from North Korea and cut the number of routes on which freight enters the country.

“Right after the United Nations Security Council announced the sanctions on North Korea on March 9,” a source in Beijing said yesterday, “the number of freight forwarders for cargo passing into North Korea through Dalian in northeast China was cut to two.”

Most freight going in and out of North Korea passes through Dalian and the port of Nampo in South Pyongan Province. Around 20 freight forwarders in Dalian acted as intermediaries for cargo to and from North Korea previously.

“As the forwarding companies are cut to a tenth, the number of cargo ships that enter North Korea from Singapore, which used to be seven or eight a week, has shrunk to two or three,” the source said, “And the inspection on cargo has been tightened so it’s difficult to clear customs.”

Another Chinese source in Jilin, bordering northeastern North Korea, said, “The construction of a transmission tower to supply electricity to Rason has recently been halted.”

Last August, Jang Song-thaek, uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, signed a deal with China to build a harbor and railroads in the so-called Rason Special Economic Zone, a northeastern North Korean region that borders China. The Chinese developers completed foundation designs last year and had entered the working design stage for the transmission tower.

“The working designs have to be completed in order to start construction, but following North Korea’s nuclear test, the construction designers have not been working and recently do not even appear on the construction site,” added the insider.

Similarly, the source added that China has stopped all seafood

By Sarah Kim, Choi Hyung-kyu
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