China publishes export ban list for North Korea

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China publishes export ban list for North Korea

China has announced a ban on the export of 900 items to North Korea that relate to nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, according to South Korean foreign affairs officials. The ban is expected to put new pressure on Pyongyang.

“Until now, China has orally told companies to comply with UN Security Council resolutions, but it has never announced an official notice, listing in detail an inventory” of items prohibited to be exported to Pyongyang, said a senior official from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The list includes dual-use items and technologies, which have both civilian and military applications. These include a wide range of technology and items including deuterium and tritium, which can be used to create hydrogen bombs, missile launching systems, GPS technology, stealth equipment, genetically modified organisms and some kinds of refrigerants.

The announcement comes seven months after UN Security Council Resolution 2094 in March, which responded to Pyongyang’s third nuclear test in February.

It is the first time Beijing has revealed in detail items that it has prohibited to be exported to the North.

The South Korean official pointed out that the move was “a large-scale sanction that exceeded expectations and was welcomed by the U.S.”

Beijing has communicated the ban to local governments and companies and warned them to expect punishment if they violate it.

The official said it’s likely that China is sending a message that it will increase pressure on North Korea so that South Korea and the U.S. will engage it in dialogue.

“The Chinese government recently announced a list of WMD export prohibitions, and warned customs officials and Chinese enterprises to take note,” Cho Tae-yong, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs and top envoy to the stalled six-party talks, said at an Asia policy forum on Tuesday, “so North Korean cannot help but feel considerable pressure.”

Beijing last month hosted a so-called 1.5 track meeting between the nations involved in the six-party talks, bringing together government officials and the private sector on Sept. 16 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the start of the talks.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced the list of banned items on Sept. 23. It is divided into sections of goods and technologies that can be used in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.

According to the 236-page list of items received by the Korean Foreign Ministry, China notified its commerce, maritime, industry and nuclear ministries of the ban.

“If you examine the list revealed by the Chinese government, they are items and technologies that are dual-purpose, which can be used for nuclear, missile and chemical weapons,” Suh Kyun-yull, professor of nuclear engineering at the Seoul National University, said. “If the exports ban is enforced properly, there can be a direct impact on North Korea’s capability to develop smaller, lighter and diverse nuclear warheads and advance its long-range missiles programs.”



BY CHANG SE-JEONG, SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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