Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

China says trade with North Korea rose 10.5pc in first half

China says trade with North Korea rose 10.5pc in first half

The two-day summit in Hamburg, Germany, wrapped up Saturday with a declaration that made no mention of North Korea, even though the meetings came just a few days after the regime test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile created to hit the continental U.S.

China's trade with North Korea rose more than 10 percent during the first half of the year despite pressure from the United States for Beijing to put further pressure on its troublesome neighbor. "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. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihoods, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions".

US President Donald Trump has been openly expressing disappointment over China's lukewarm stance in curbing its economic trade with North Korea, which reportedly grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, raising the possibility for broader secondary sanctions.

The decline follows China's decision in February to ban all imports of North Korean coal. Based on May import figures of 22.19 million tonnes, June imports were down 2.7 percent from a month earlier, according to Reuters calculations.

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.

Trump has complained that trade increased between the two despite calling on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to use the nation's unique diplomatic and economic clout over North Korea as leverage.

Since taking office in January, Trump has vowed to press Beijing, North Korea's only major ally and largest trade partner, to do more to curb the reclusive regime's weapons programs. The announcement came amid a broader release of Chinese first half data.

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