BEIJING (AP) — China suggested Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council consider suspending or lifting sanctions against North Korea if the country is in compliance with U.N. resolutions and making progress in diplomatic negotiations.
Hours after talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Security Council's sanctions against North Korea were designed to be adjusted and could be suspended or lifted in accordance with the North's actions.
"Sanctions are not an end," he said at a daily briefing in Beijing. "We believe the Security Council should make efforts to support the diplomatic efforts at the present time."
Geng added that China "welcomed and supported" efforts by North Korea and the U.S. to reach consensus on denuclearization and establish a mechanism for peace.
China, North Korea's main ally, accounts for more than 90 percent of the isolated country's trade, and China's participation is widely seen as crucial for international sanctions to have any bite. Bilateral trade has plunged in recent months as China ratcheted up enforcement of the increasingly tough restrictions ordered over the North's missile and nuclear weapons tests.
China has been following the U.N. sanctions resolutions "comprehensively, accurate and strictly," Geng said.