China needs to boost economic pressure on North Korea: US

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China needs to boost economic pressure on North Korea: US

Washington, Apr 28 (AFP) China needs to step up economic pressure on North Korea, after Pyongyang “upped the ante” in its nuclear testing in recent months, the US State Department has said.

Beijing “frankly has to put economic leverage on North Korea,” spokesman Mark Toner yesterday said.

“Our message to China is, the time for strategic patience — for waiting North Korea out, for trying to gently nudge it back into talks — is past.”

Toner spoke a day after top US security officials pledged to step up sanctions to force North Korea to resume dialogue over its nuclear program, toning down more virulent rhetoric from recent days.

Today, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to press hard for global action on the North Korea issue as he chairs a special meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

Toner said China needs to take the lead in that pressure.

“What I think is significant from the last (US) administration to this administration is, North Korea has upped the ante, has increased its pace of ballistic missile testing, nuclear testing, with the clear intent of pursuing either greater reach for its nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons.”

“And that’s, frankly, as I said before, a game-changer that we need to address.” (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.