Beijing protests US sanctions on Chinese firms over North Korea ties

Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
Kim Jong Un at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

Beijing - Beijing has protested against Washington's decision to impose sanctions against Chinese companies accused of conducting illicit economic deals with North Korea, the foreign ministry said.

US President Donald Trump on Friday announced measures targeting more than 50 North Korea-linked shipping companies, vessels and trade businesses, hailing the package as the "heaviest sanctions ever" levied on the nuclear-armed regime.

The measures, which the US says are aimed at forcing Pyongyang to roll back its banned nuclear and weapons programmes, apply to companies located or registered in North Korea, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Tanzania, Panama and Comoros.

Washington has been locked in a nuclear standoff with Pyongyang, which is trying to develop missiles that could deliver an atomic weapon to major US cities, and the sanctions are designed to put the squeeze on North Korea's already precarious economy and fuel supply.

"China is strongly opposed to the United States' long-arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions on Chinese entities and individuals," foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Saturday.

"We have lodged solemn representations to the United States and asked the US to immediately cease the wrong practice so as to avoid undermining relevant cooperation between the two sides," he added.

UN sanctions

China, North Korea's only major ally, has steadfastly rebuffed Washington's calls for a full oil embargo - fearing the chaotic collapse of the Pyongyang regime - but has accepted caps agreed at the UN.

"We will never allow Chinese citizens or companies to be engaged in activities that violate resolutions from the United Nations Security Council," Geng said.

But Washington says its latest measures target entities that have helped Pyongyang evade UN sanctions.

The North Korean military and broader economy depend heavily on imports of coal and oil from Russia and China, with the latter accounting for some 90% of the country's trade.

In 2017, the Security Council adopted a series of resolutions to ban North Korean exports of commodities, including coal, iron and steel.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Biden is going to take it
46% - 5018 votes
It's four more years for Trump
54% - 5954 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
16.48
(+0.18)
ZAR/GBP
21.37
(+0.05)
ZAR/EUR
19.45
(-0.06)
ZAR/AUD
11.60
(+0.40)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.31)
Gold
1906.03
(+0.18)
Silver
24.63
(+5.35)
Platinum
860.00
(+0.76)
Brent Crude
42.85
(-0.67)
Palladium
2337.00
(+0.79)
All Share
55020.82
(-0.25)
Top 40
50621.79
(-0.24)
Financial 15
9920.70
(-0.57)
Industrial 25
75461.10
(+0.93)
Resource 10
53312.59
(-1.51)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo