Japan extends sanctions on Pyongyang for 2 years

Clay Curtis
April 11, 2019

China and North Korea opened a new border crossing over the Yalu River, signaling aspirations for deeper economic ties between the neighbors even as Pyongyang's trade remains crimped by global sanctions.

A Chinese city has opened a new border crossing with North Korea fitted with radiation detectors. The China-DPRK Jian-Manpo highway connection is for passenger and cargo transport and hosts an advanced customs facility, the China News Service said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed Tuesday with the characterization of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a "tyrant".

Japan had first sanctioned North Korea in 2006 after Pyongyang performed its first nuclear arms test. Japan has in recent times extended the sanctions for several times, in line with the UNSC resolution.

Ties between the United States and North Korea have hit a roadblock over the ease of sanctions, where Pyongyang sought relief as a recognition of the steps taken towards denuclearisation.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is due to meet with Trump at the White House on Thursday to try to infuse momentum into the talks. The Manpo-Jian bridge has considerable symbolic significance for North Korea because the previous dictator, Kim Jong-Il, crossed into China from Manpo in 2010 on a rare trip out of the country. But after construction on the four-lane, $350-million bridge completed, it never opened, and the concrete runs into fields on the North Korean side.

China is by far the North's biggest trading partner.

Legal commerce between North Korea and China has been sharply curtailed by sanctions, but the black market is booming.

Japan will extend its sanctions against North Korea for an additional two years because Pyongyang has taken no concrete action toward abandoning its nuclear and missile development programs, the government said.

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