- Sky News
Theresa May has called on China to deal with the North Korea’s “illegal” missile tests.
“I believe that China should be using its leverage with North Korea to ensure that [it] stops these illegal tests,” the Prime Minister told Sky News on Wednesday.
May delivered the remarks in Kyoto, Japan, where she arrived on Wednesday for trade talks.
Just the day before, North Korea launched a missile the passed over the country’s northern island of Hokkaido, which Prime Minister Abe labelled “an unprecedented, grave, and serious threat” to regional security.
- KCNA via Reuters
When asked to elaborate on her appeal to China, May said there were “a number of issues that China can look at,” such as further international sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Earlier this month the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to impose sanctions on North Korean exports that were likely to cut the country’s $3 billion annual export revenue by a third. North Korea threatened “thousands-fold” revenge on the US after these sanctions were announced.
The US and Japan also plan to call for an international ban on oil exports to North Korea in a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting next Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reported.
May also said in her Wednesday interview:
“I welcome the fact that the United Nations Security Council has been united in its condemnation of the actions of North Korea. These are illegal tests that they have carried out, and they should stop these.
“What I want to do is work with our international partners and I will have obviously have the opportunity in Japan to talk to [Japanese] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe about these tests that North Korea have been carrying out, and how we can work together, and with others internationally, to put pressure on North Korea to stop.”
She, however, dodged questions when asked whether the UK would commit troops to deter them, and declined to specify any red lines for North Korea.
- KCNA via Reuters
May’s pressure on China echoed those of the current US administration, which announced a fresh round of sanctions last week targeting Chinese and Russian companies and individuals for supporting North Korea’s nuclear development. Beijing slammed the decision, saying the sanctions “will not help the solution of the problem as well as the mutual trust and cooperation with China.”
China is North Korea’s largest trading partner, and exports tens of thousands of tonnes of crude oil and fuel to the Hermit Kingdom each year, per the Financial Times. In July, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that sanctions against North Korea were “needed” but “not the final goal.”
North Korean state media on Wednesday warned of more missile flights over Japan, and said Tuesday’s launch was a “meaningful prelude to containing Guam.” Kim Jong Un’s regime first threatened to attack the US island territory after Trump threatened to respond to North Korea’s threats with “fire and fury.”
May is in Japan to discuss a potential post-Brexit trade deal with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But Japanese officials on Tuesday shot down the UK’s hopes for a quick trade agreement, saying said they were in no rush to enter negotiations with Britain, especially since it is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU.