Nikki Haley: China, U.S. are discussing new sanctions

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Nikki Haley: China, U.S. are discussing new sanctions

The United States and China are discussing the timing of a new UN Security Council sanctions resolution, and could decide this week, according to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday.

Haley also told reporters in New York that the Donald Trump administration believes “China is doing back-channel networking” with North Korea to get Kim Jong-un to stop nuclear testing.

Her remarks follow North Korea’s launch of a short-range ballistic missile on Monday, the third such test since the inauguration of President Moon Jae-in this month.

The UN Security Council has been discussing leveling tougher sanctions on North Korea, with United States and its allies leading efforts to draft a new resolution, but diplomatic sources have indicated China has not been keen to get on board.

“It’s about at what point do we do the resolution,” said Haley, and “at what test model do we say now is the time to go forward,” referring to North Korea’s continued missile provocations which bring it closer to successfully launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that would put U.S. mainland into range.

Haley said Washington believes China is “being productive” in trying to rein in Pyongyang, echoing Trump’s strategy to pressure Beijing, adding, “We do think they’re trying to counter what is happening now.”

She added, “I think that we’ll decide this week on what that looks like,” referring to a new Security Council resolution that would toughen sanctions on Pyongyang.

She also said the United States will “keep the pressure on China” but will also “continue to work with them in any way that they think is best.”

However, last week after an emergency meeting of the council discussing North Korea’s ballistic missile launch, Chinese Ambassador to the UN Liu Jieyi indicated that Beijing prioritizes restarting dialogue with North Korea.

China continues to call for resuming the long-stalled six-party talks, which were halted when North Korea walked out on the negotiations in 2009.

The talks to denuclearize Pyongyang involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Haley added that Washington was not “backpedaling” on its policies concerning the North.

“Nothing is changing North Korea’s actions, and so it’s regrouping and saying, ‘Okay, what are we going to do if this is going to happen every other day,’” continued Haley. “How should we respond in a way that actually stops these things or slows them down?”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the Security Council to “act before North Korea does” as he presided over a meeting on North Korea on April 28. He called on the members to “adopt a new approach and impose increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the North Korean regime.”

The Security Council has since 2006 adopted six sanctions resolution on North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, the latest two adopted in March and November of last year following the regime’s fourth and fifth nuclear test.

China and the United States, two of the five veto-wielding members of the council, have also wrangled in the process of approving UNSC sanctions resolutions on North Korea in the past.

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