China's trade with North Korea tumbles over United Nations sanctions

China's trade with North Korea tumbles over United Nations sanctions

China's trade with North Korea plunged by 50 percent in December as United Nations sanctions tightened, the Beijing government said on Friday.

Trucks cross the Friendship Bridge on the Yalu river from Sinuiju, North Korea, to Dandong, Liaoning province, China January 8, 2018.

After North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device yet and launched missiles capable of reaching the USA, the UN Security Council imposed a series of sanctions restricting oil imports and cutting off about 90 percent of its export revenue. China accounts for almost all of Pyongyang's trade and energy supplies. Imports from the North shrank 81.6 percent to $54 million in December, while exports to Pyongyang contracted by 23.4 percent to $260 million, AP said, citing a spokesman for the Chinese customs agency, Huang Songping.

North Korea's first talks with South Korea in more than two years turned tense Tuesday, after representatives of President Moon Jae-in proposed discussions with Kim about giving up his nuclear weapons program.

"In terms of how big of an impact it (falling trade) had on North Korea, there was definitely impact because some of their products could only go to China while others could only be imported from China", said Chen Fengying, an economics expert at state-backed China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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The United States has long taken a harsher stance against North Korea than China, but Chinese leaders are growing frustrated with the regime's continued nuclear testing.

China, the main source of North Korea's fuel, did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its neighbour in November. All told, trade between the two sides fell nearly 51 percent during the month.

China on Friday reported that its trade with North Korea fell 10.5 percent in 2017, compared with the previous year. Imports from the country also plunged 82 percent in December.

Following the adoption of the UNSC resolution on North Korea, China called on all the parties involved to show restraint and undertake joint efforts in order to de-escalate tensions on the peninsula.

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