John Park on How to Cooperate with China on Sanctions

September 9, 2017 10:00 AM

The American press has seized on a surprising note in Wang Yi’s comments on the nuclear test: that China agreed that additional Security Council action was needed. Not so fast. A careful reading of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman's remarks over the last few days suggests the return to a much more measured stance, with the outcome depending on negotiations in New York. Moreover, Putin has entered the fray. Over the weekend, the US will be pressing a wide-ranging set of additional measures in a draft UNSC resolution: a ban on oil and gas sales and North Korean exports of labor as well as authority to interdict shipping on the high seas suspected of violating sanctions. Some of these measures look like complete non-starters to me. But John Park has offered up a different line of attack more likely to get Chinese cooperation. In testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Park proposes appealing to Xi Jinping’s domestic political interests. How? By identifying sanctions violators involved in corruption, drug-smuggling, counterfeiting and money-laundering and bringing them to Beijing’s attention. This is smart: secondary sanctions are fully warranted, but the first step should be to identify not only those Chinese firms violating UN sanctions but Chinese law as well.

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