U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is accompanying President Trump on his visit to Beijing, said on Thursday that sanctions by the international community against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program are having an effect.
Tillerson specified that the U.S. and China are seeing 'certain signs' that the sanctions are creating some stress within North Korea's economy and with some of their citizens, possibly even within the military. The comments mark the first time the U.S. has indicated that the latest round of U.N. sanctions is starting to affect North Korea's economy.
But from the meetings with Chinese officials, Tillerson also said that there is some divergence on how to approach the issue. He added that Chinese leader Xi Jinping does not expect immediate results from the U.N. sanctions against North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council adopted sanctions resolutions after Pyongyang's long-range missile tests in July and its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September. The sanctions are designed to cut off the regime's revenue and prevent it from developing nuclear missiles.
As China is responsible for about 90 percent of North Korea's external trade, Trump will be hoping to secure China's commitment to enforcing sanctions against Pyongyang during his time in Beijing.
Meanwhile at a NATO summit on Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said the U.S. supports solving the North Korean nuclear crisis through diplomatic means. Mattis said economic sanctions are intended to either isolate the regime or bring it to the negotiating table. Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.