China’s coal imports from North Korea drop by 75%

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/13 23:18:39

Chinese imports of coal from North Korea dropped by 74.5 percent in the first half of 2017 from the same period last year after China announced a ban on coal imports from that country on February 19 to implement UN sanctions, a customs official said.

The 2.68 million tons of coal China imported from North Korea arrived before February 18, Huang Songping, a spokesperson of the General Administration of Customs, told a press conference on Thursday.

He said China is strictly implementing UN sanctions. 

China imported $880 million worth of goods from North Korea in the first half of 2017, a drop of 13.2 percent from the same period last year, Huang said.

Imports from North Korea to China slid by 36.5 percent in March, 41.6 percent in April, 31.6 percent in May and 28.9 percent in June, Huang elaborated.

Huang noted that the monthly data shows that China had been strictly implementing UN sanctions, saying suspicions to the contrary were groundless.

"The ban on coal imports is China's toughest sanctions against North Korea,"  Lü Chao, an expert on Korean studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

In the first half of the year, China exported $1.67 billion in goods to North Korea, a 29.1 percent increase from the previous year, and reflected products not covered by the sanctions, like textiles, he said.

As neighbors, China maintains normal economic and trade activity with North Korea because sanctions should not damage trade in the name of humanitarianism, Huang said.

Lü explained that North Korea suffered from heavy flooding last year and a drought early this year. "Almost all of the materials the country needed for reconstruction were imported from China, including building materials and steel," said Lü.

Last week, the Rodong Sinmun, the North's biggest newspaper, reported that the country was struck by an "abysmal" drought, reported.

The severe flood in the North Korea border region in September 2016 lead to 133 deaths, 395 missing and tens of thousands homeless, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Lü added that it is unreasonable for the US and the UK to accuse China of not being strongly committed to UN sanctions, because their claims are inconsistent with the  facts.


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