Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

North Korea Row Threatens China Escalates as US with Sanctions; AMERICAN STUDENT WHO WAS JAILED BY ROGUE STATE RETURNS HOME IN A COMA

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

North Korea Row Threatens China Escalates as US with Sanctions; AMERICAN STUDENT WHO WAS JAILED BY ROGUE STATE RETURNS HOME IN A COMA

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner US Correspondent

AMERICA appeared to be on a collision course with China today after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US was considering imposing sanctions on countries that do business with North Korea.

President Trump has been soft-pedalling his public stance on China in the hope that Beijing will force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme.

But Mr Tillerson's sanctions threat will up the stakes with China, North Korea's biggest partner, and Russia, the rogue regime's other main supplier.

It came as American college student Otto Warmbier returned home to Ohio last night after being freed from a North Korean prison. His family said they found out last week that the 22-year-old has been in a coma since shortly after his trial in March last year for alleged anti-state acts. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail after tearfully confessing to trying to steal a propaganda sign.

Mr Tillerson told the Senate foreign relations committee yesterday that it was time for the US to work with other nations to deny the North access to supplies such as oil, amid fears that the regime is making progress toward a ballistic missile that could hit America. He said: "We are in a stage where we are moving into this next effort of, 'Are we going to have to, in effect, start taking secondary sanctions because countries we have provided information to have not, or are unwilling, or don't have the ability to do that?" He added that because America has no trade with North Korea, the most effective way to impose pressure is through "secondary sanctions" that threaten companies from third countries with losing access to the US market if they deal with Pyongyang.

Asked whether the US wanted to see an Iran-style global embargo to deny exports of petroleum and other products to North Korea, Mr Tillerson said that this would only work if Russia and China co-operated. …

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