Sanctions on North Korea pose little risk to Kim Jong Un’s regime

Here's a piece I co-authored with Heiwai Tang in the Financial Times on what the new set of economic sanctions on North Korea mean for China. 

China this month moved to implement the sanctions on North Korea passed unanimously by the UN Security Council following Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests. Beijing said it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and seafood in three weeks. The sanctions aim to cut North Korea’s $3bn in annual exports by a third. If universally implemented, they could have massive repercussions for the country’s economy.

Shortly after voting in favour of the new hard-hitting measures, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said: “Given China’s traditional economic ties with North Korea, China more than anyone will pay a price for implementing the resolution.”

He added: “In order to maintain the international nuclear non-proliferation system and regional peace and stability, China will, as always, enforce the full content of relevant resolutions in a comprehensive and strict manner.”

The statement rings hollow, given how little North Korea matters economically to Beijing.