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China likely to tighten enforcement of U.N. sanctions on N. Korea: scholar

All News 10:48 February 29, 2016

BEIJING, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- China is likely to tighten its enforcement of U.N. sanctions against North Korea as the North's nuclear test and rocket launch this year appear to change a calculus of the Chinese Communist Party on how to solve the North Korean problem, according to a Chinese scholar on Monday.

Last week's agreement by the United States and China on a draft U.N. resolution, which includes a ban on the supply of aviation fuel to North Korea, was evidence of the shift in Beijing's stance towards its only treaty ally Pyongyang, said Li Kaisheng, research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Li made the remarks during an interview with Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV on Sunday.

The United Nations is weighing over the draft resolution to punish North Korea for its Jan. 6 nuclear test and Feb. 7 launch of a long-range rocket, both of which violated previous U.N. resolutions.

Winning China's cooperation is key to ensure the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions against North Korea because China accounts for nearly 90 percent of the North's foreign trade.

Still, China is unlikely to put crippling sanctions on North Korea because a sudden collapse of the regime could spark a refugee crisis at its border and lead to a pro-U.S., democratic Korea on its doorstep, analysts say.

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