US, Chinese defence chiefs discuss sanctions enforcement on N Korea

Singapore: Patrick Shanahan, the acting US Defence Secretary, and Wei Fenghe, the Chinese Defence Minister, discussed ways to better enforce UN sanctions on North Korea during a “constructive and productive” meeting held on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum here on Friday.

“The two leaders discussed ways to build military-to-military relations that reduce the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation between our nations,” Yonhap News Agency quoted a Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino, as saying.

“Secretary Shanahan specifically discussed how our militaries can better cooperate to enforce UN Security Council Resolutions related to DPRK (North Korea) sanctions,” the spokesman added.

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This comes as denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang have come to a standstill, especially after the breakdown of the second US-North Korea summit at Vietnam earlier this year. The two countries reportedly failed to see eye-to-eye on sanctions waivers.

While North Korea wants the sanctions to be removed, the United States has remained steadfast in its stance to remove sanctions only once complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is achieved.

The US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently acknowledged that China had done “good work” when it came to sanctions enforcement on North Korea, but highlighted that there was scope to do better.

“It’s not perfect. It’s not perfect anywhere…We’re always looking to do better with respect to enforcement. But they’ve been a very good partner on that issue even while there have been difficult conversations on trade taking place,” Pompeo said.

The Secretary of State’s statements and the defence chiefs’ meeting comes despite the United States and China being locked in a trade dispute currently.


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