Boris Johnson: China must deploy North Korean sanctions now

Catherine Neilan
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Pyongyang is thought to have launched 15 missiles in 2017 alone (Source: Getty)

In between interviews about whether he plans to resign or not, Boris Johnson has attempted some Foreign Office work, urging China to keep up the pressure on rogue state North Korea and insisting sanctions must be deployed immediately.

Johnson, who is currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings, met with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to discuss the role it plays as the biggest single trading partner with North Korea.

Pyongyang is thought to have launched 15 missiles in 2017 alone.

And those missiles are growing in strength: on 4 July, North Korea conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which it claims could reach "anywhere in the world."

Prior to that, one was intermediate-range, two were medium-range, eight were either short-range or medium-range and the range of one is unknown, reports suggest.

Johnson, who also met with Japanese foreign minister Tarō Kōno to stress the UK’s solidarity with Japan over the threat it faces, said: "China has a vital role to play and unique economic influence over North Korea. It controls more than 90 per cent of North Korea’s external trade, including its oil supplies, making them perfectly placed to put the kind of pressure on Kim Jong-Un that will make him take notice.

"As the Prime Minister said during her recent visit to Japan, the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with them in the face of North Korean aggression.

"Last week the harshest UN sanctions placed on any nation in the 21st century were imposed on North Korea. They must now be enforced."

On top of existing sanctions, a resolution passed by the UN agreed to ban all exports of coal, iron, lead, and seafood. The resolution also imposed new restrictions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and prohibited any increase in the number of North Koreans working in foreign countries.

Shortly afterwards, the country's UN envoy said the US would suffer "the greatest pain" it has ever experienced.

However, that big talk hasn't made US President Donald Trump dial down his own rhetoric. Yesterday he said the US could "totally destroy" North Korea.

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