China announces September 5 cutoff of North Korean imports

China announces September 5 cutoff of North Korean imports

China announces September 5 cutoff of North Korean imports

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce posted an announcement on its web page on August 14 of a full-scale ban on imports of North Korean coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood as of August 15.

Beijing had pledged to fully enforce the latest sanctions after the United States accused China of not doing enough to rein in its neighbour, which relies heavily on the Asian giant for its economic survival.

The Chinese customs agency said yesterday that it will stop processing imports of North Korean coal, iron and lead ores and fish at midnight on September 5.

Textiles were North Korea's second-biggest export after coal and other minerals in 2016, totalling $752 million, according to data from the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

China is North Korea's closest ally, but it has been infuriated by its repeated missile and nuclear tests and has signed up for increasingly tough UN sanctions on the isolated nation.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi vowed after the United Nations sanctions were approved that his country "will for sure implement that new resolution 100 per cent, fully and strictly".

The military-controlled airline, Air Koryo, flies to Beijing and a few other cities in China, including Dandong, the main transit point for trade between the two countries.

Trump complained in July that trade between the two nations had increased by almost 40 per cent in the first quarter.

New sanctions would build on eight previous resolutions ratcheting up action against Pyongyang in response to five nuclear tests, four long-range ballistic missile tests and dozens of medium-range rocket launches. This was nearly a quarter of all North Korean exports which amounted to $2.82 billion last year having grown by 4.6% from the previous year.

Among the latest banned products, China imported Dollars 74.4 million worth of iron ore in the first five months of this year, nearly equalling the figure for all of 2016.

This was mostly textile materials since suppliers in China send fabrics to the hermit state so that they can manufactured into clothing in North Korean factories before they are exported around the world.

"North Korea seems to be hosting what appears to be a meeting of foreign diplomatic missions' chiefs after calling its ambassadors to major countries back to Pyongyang", a government official told Yonhap.

The top USA military officer told his Chinese counterpart Tuesday that the US and China have "many hard issues" to work through, during a visit that comes amid tensions over North Korea's missile program, Taiwan and China's claims in the South China Sea.

"Firstly, we think the United States should not become a destroyer of multilateral rules", Hua said. "The government's heaviest responsibility is to secure our people's lives".

The United States has expressed concern about what it calls unsafe intercepts of USA aircraft by the Chinese air force and a lack of transparency in China's military spending, China being in the midst of an ambitious military modernization program.

But its proposal for North Korea to suspend its arms programmes in return for the United States to halt military drills in the region has been ignored.

Hua said China's position on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula remains clear and consistent.

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