China threatens North Korea with sanctions

by Itunuoluwa Adebo

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an interview with Fox News on thursday said China has threatened Pyongyang with sanctions if the government continues to disregard calls to stop conducting nuclear tests.

“We know that China is in communications with the regime in Pyongyang,” Tillerson said. “They confirmed to us that they had requested the regime to conduct no further nuclear test.

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A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said  that Beijing remains committed to employing sanctions imposed under U.N. Security Council resolutions. The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific Thursday, said the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he’s ever seen.

“It’s real,” Adm. Harry Harris Jr, commander of U.S. Pacific Command said before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also said though the US intelligence agencies don’t know how advanced North Korea’s nuclear missile program is,  he has no doubt that Kim Jong Un intends to go ahead with  his pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

On thursday the House GOP leadership announced  that it would vote next week on new sanctions against North Korea that would target its shipping industry and those who employ North Korean slave labor abroad.

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“The time for waiting on North Korea to get its act together is over. Congress has led the effort to institute tough and far-reaching sanctions against Pyongyang,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.  Meanwhile, a group of American warships led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is in striking range of North Korea “if the president were to call on it,” Harris told the committee.

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