China says upholds United Nations sanctions as North Korea trade rises

China says upholds United Nations sanctions as North Korea trade rises

China says upholds United Nations sanctions as North Korea trade rises

The US Congress is pushing for a bill meant to block companies with North Korea ties from using the American financial system amid growing calls for secondary sanctions against entities in China and elsewhere that may assist with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea's multiple missile tests in recent months, culminating with its first-ever successful launch last week of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska, has alarmed the global community and presented Trump's first major foreign policy test.

China insisted Thursday it was upholding UN sanctions on North Korea despite a jump in its trade with the nuclear-armed nation that comes amid growing United States calls for Beijing to rein in its neighbour.

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The overall rise in trade has been driven by China's exports to North Korea, which were up by almost 30% in the first half of the year.

That increase "cannot be used as evidence questioning China's seriousness in fulfilling UNSC resolutions", Huang said. 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. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions", Huang said.

The decline follows China's decision in February to ban all imports of North Korean coal.

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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 past year. By comparison, imports of coal alone were worth $97.6 million just in the month of February.

Notably, China Customs said its first-half coal and iron ore imports from North Korea were in line with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

"So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" he added.

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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. He called out the "nearly 40%" increase in trade in the first three months of the year on Twitter last week.

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