Beijing (Reuters): China will pay the biggest price from the new UN sanctions against North Korea because of its close economic relationship with the country, but will always enforce the resolutions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday over its continued missile tests that could slash the reclusive country's $3 billion annual export revenue by a third.
Speaking at a regional security forum in Manila on Monday, Wang said the new resolution showed China and the international community's opposition to North Korea's continued missile tests, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Owing to China's traditional economic ties with North Korea, it will mainly be China paying the price for implementing the resolution," the statement cited Wang as saying.
"But in order to protect the international non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as before, fully and strictly properly implement the entire contents of the relevant resolution."
China, North Korea's lone major ally, has repeatedly said it is committed to enforcing increasingly tough UN resolutions on North Korea, though it has also said what it terms "normal" trade and ordinary North Koreans should not be affected.
The latest UN resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. It also prohibits countries from increasing the numbers of North Korean labourers currently working abroad, bans new joint ventures with North Korea and any new investment in current joint ventures.
"What this is going to do is send a very strong message and a united message," US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told NBC's "Today" programme in an interview on Tuesday, adding that Washington would be watching to see the sanctions are enforced.
US President Donald Trump praised other nations for addressing North Korea's missile programme.