China tells Japan not to abandon dialogue over North Korea

Elias Hubbard
September 25, 2017

China will limit exports of refined petroleum products to North Korea starting October 1, its commerce ministry said, confirming Beijing's participation in new United Nations sanctions meant to rein in its rogue neighbour.

North Korea has been struck by a 3.4 scale quake that China says may have been caused by an explosion.

The United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Beijing, approved tough sanctions against Pyongyang last week in response to its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

All of North Korea's six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.

China accounts for around 90 per cent of North Korea's trade, so Beijing's cooperation is critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The last test on September 3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake. Similar to "collapse" event 8.5 mins after DPRK6!

The United States Geological Survey, the peak body on earthquakes, has yet to determine if the quake was natural or artificially caused. "Analysis ongoing", CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post, referring to the Sept 3 test.

"The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist", USGS said.

China said a magnitude 3.4 natural disaster detected in North Korea on Saturday was a "suspected explosion", raising fears the isolated state had conducted another nuclear bomb test just weeks after its last one. "I see no reason to doubt that it was an quake".

As Pyongyang continues to move ahead with its nuclear programme, tension builds up in the Korean Peninsula.

The quake also caps a week in which President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un exchanged increasingly bellicose insults and follows a threat on Thursday by the North to carry out a significantly more risky nuclear test.

After a week in which, with tweets and in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump introduced the derogatory nickname "Rocket Man" for Kim into worldwide news coverage and left open his prerogative to "totally destroy" North Korea, the president gave no ground on Friday in his public standoff with his adversary.

His comments came after Trump ordered new sanctions on individuals, companies and banks doing business with North Korea as he sought to further isolate the regime and increase economic pressure for it to curb its weapons programs. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons programme aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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