China trading more with North Korea but buying less coal

Yolanda Curtis
July 16, 2017

US President Donald Trump has been openly expressing disappointment over China's lukewarm stance in curbing its economic trade with North Korea, which reportedly grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, raising the possibility for broader secondary sanctions.

President Trump has repeatedly criticized China over its trade with North Korea, calling on it to exert more pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime. China will continue to strictly and earnestly implement the North Korea-related Security Council resolution in its entirety.

Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior USA officials said.


He pointed to a 13.2 percent drop in imports from North Korea in the same period as an example of the pressure, adding that there have been sharp decreases every month since March. He has been urging the UN Security Council to impose a "complete economic embargo" requiring all member nations to cut off all finance and trade with the North, with a few limited humanitarian exceptions.

North Korea bought $1.67 billion worth of Chinese products in the first six months of the year, which helped push total trade between the two countries up 10 percent between January and June.

China announced in February the suspension of coal imports from the North, striking a blow at a major source of income for the hermit state.


Trump acknowledged as much at a July 12 press availability held aboard Air Force One on the way to France to celebrate Bastille Day.

Whether the new penalties are put in place will depend on how a high-level economic meeting between US and Chinese officials in Washington next week goes and on how China responds to USA pressure on Pyongyang, according to Reuters.

The Chinese customs department released figures showing a 29 percent spike in Chinese exports to North Korea.


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