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15 July 2017, 12:36 | Colleen Roy
China trade with sanctions-struck North Korea up 10.5 percent in first half
China's imports from North Korea have seen a drastic drop in the past four months and it "has strictly abided" by United Nations Security Council resolutions, a customs official said.
USA and United Nations sanctions have failed to deter North Korea from pursuing its nuclear and missile programs, and on Friday, it justified its ICBM test as an exercise of its legitimate right to self-defense.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Chinese exports of iron to North Korea for civilian purposes do not relate to the sanctions targeting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, and China will continue implementing the resolutions "in an all-out manner".
US President Donald Trump said on July 5 that China had not done enough to pressure its neighbour, after Pyongyang successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile the day before.
The so-called secondary sanctions now being considered are a way for the United States to apply targeted economic pressure on companies in countries with ties to North Korea by denying them access to the USA market and financial system. Then on July 8, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met to discuss concerns on North Korea and the Chinese trade relations.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China's cooperation on North Korea was "uneven" when he spoke to lawmakers last month, saying US officials were concerned about actions by both the government and other entities in China.
Experts at 38 North estimated in April that North Korea could have as many as 20 nuclear bombs and could produce one more each month.
President Trump and administration officials have grown increasingly irritated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missiles programs, despite public pressure from the U.S.
Huang said coal imports dropped by three-quarters in the first half, and all those shipments had been made before February 18. "Simple accumulated data can not be used as evidence to question China's severe attitude in carrying out UN Security Council resolutions", Huang told a news briefing. Total trade increased 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion during the period.
At the same time, iron ore imports have surged between January and May to $74.4 million compared to $24 million over the same period previous year. "They need grain, they need fuel and they need consumer goods, and that's what China provides", he said. But it is especially anxious about the collapse of the regime with which it shares a border, and fears both an influx of millions of North Korean refugees and the possibility of a unified Korea with USA troops again at the Yalu River.
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