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China tells Japan sanctions against North Korea won’t resolve nuclear issue

Unilateral sanctions will not help resolve issues on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart over the phone in the aftermath of a fresh round of nuclear testing in North Korea last week.

The call also came after the U.S. State Department's special representative for North Korea met Japanese officials on Sunday and said the U.S. may launch unilateral sanctions against the reclusive state.

China is North Korea's most important ally and has come under intense criticism for not doing enough to curb Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

In the call on Wednesday, Wang said China opposed "unhelpful" unilateral sanctions on North Korea even as he reiterated China's opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear testing. The East Asian giant was willing to work with other permanent members of United Nations Security Council to formulate a "necessarily response" to new developments on the Korean Peninsula, he added.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un looks out towards Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party.
Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un looks out towards Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party.

He told his counterpart Fumio Kishida that efforts for talks should not be forsaken under any circumstances and that the current situation warranted an even more urgent need for dialogue.

The content of the call was released by the Chinese foreign affairs minister on its website late Wednesday.

China has expressed anger with North Korea for conducting its fifth and largest nuclear test last week but has not said if it would commit to further sanctions on its neighbor. Earlier this week, a Chinese foreign affairs spokesperson also said that sanctions were not the only answer to managing the delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Japan's foreign affairs ministry also released a statement on its website regarding the call.

In the call, Kishida said Pyongyang's nuclear test was unacceptable and a direct and serious threat to Japan's security. He also sought a constructive response from China, which is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

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