Posted March. 09, 2017 07:03,
Updated March. 09, 2017 07:12
The world’s two great powers are on a collision track over North Korea, as the United States is stepping up its pressure on China for sanctions on North Korea, levying the largest amount of fines ever on a Chinese company that violated sanctions on Pyongyang. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly called for a halt to the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
The Trump administration slapped ZTE Corp., China’s biggest telecom equipment maker, with a fine of nearly 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, the largest amount ever levied on a foreign company, for having violated the U.S. sanctions on North Korea and Iran.
A U.S. investigation found ZTE conspired to evade U.S. embargoes by buying U.S. components such as routers and microprocessors, incorporating them into ZTE equipment and illegally shipping them to Iran and North Korea. “With this action, we are putting the world on notice: Improper trade games are over with,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement. “Those who flout our economic sanctions, export control laws, and any other trade regimes, will not go unpunished.”
The U.S. Department of State also warned of its diplomacy for escalating pressure on China, unveiling Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s plan to visit South Korea, China and Japan. He will arrive in Japan on March 15, continue on to South Korea on March 17 and visit China on March 18-19. He plans to solidify the trilateral cooperation with Seoul, Washington and Tokyo over North Korean missile launches and the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the South, while seeking to put pressure on Beijing, which has been escalating its retaliatory measures against Seoul for the deployment. “The reason we're pursuing this implementation or deployment of THAAD is because of North Korea's continued bad behavior,” Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing. He said that while Washington understood Beijing’s concerns, North Korean missiles are a matter of national security to Seoul and Tokyo.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a media conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the THAAD deployment was a “wrong choice.” When asked about the ZTE case, Wang said Beijing would continue to pay attention as to whether Chinese firms were receiving fair treatment overseas. He also blamed North Korea for continued violation of the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions and the U.S. and South Korea for continuing to put pressure on the North by conducting joint military exercises.