Chinese Customs reports imports drop from North Korea

Tuckerton Minister Thinks South Koreans Not Too Worried About War

Word of the sanctions plan comes as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley seeks to overcome resistance from China and Russian Federation to a UN Security Council resolution imposing stiffer global sanctions on Pyongyang.

It, among other things, would impose U.S. sanctions on all those participating in North Korean labour trafficking abuses.

The North Korean foreign ministry threatened Friday to take "corresponding measures" if the U.N. Security Council adopts a new punitive resolution.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who is calling on Beijing to apply more pressure on Pyongyang, criticized China in a tweet July 5: "Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40% in the first quarter". Despite the worldwide opprobrium over its nuclear ambitions, North Korea has managed to take advantage of a loophole in United Nations sanctions by increasing its exports of iron ore.

But in recent weeks, Trump has fired off tweets denouncing China's trade with North Korea and cast doubt on whether Beijing was doing enough to counter Pyongyang.

President Xi reaffirmed that the "blood brotherhood" between China and North Korea remains strong during talks with South Korean President Moon Jae In ahead of the summit with President Trump. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is calling for more accountability for companies working with North Korea. China imported about 445 million metric tons of iron ore in the first five months of 2017, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, of which just 1.1 million metric tons came from North Korea.

The timing and scope of the U.S. action will depend heavily on how China responds to pressure for tougher steps against North Korea when U.S. and Chinese officials meet for a high-level economic dialog in Washington on Wednesday, the administration sources told Reuters. Imports from North Korea are declining every month beginning March.

President Trump and administration officials have grown increasingly irritated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missiles programs, despite public pressure from the U.S.

"Make no mistake, the Security Council's sanctions on [North Korea] can not be equated with all-encompassing economic sanctions". But Huang said the total trade figure in the first six months was US$2.55 billion, an increase of 10.5 percent. "The maintenance of normal economic and trade exchanges between China and [North Korea] does not violate Security Council's resolutions", the foreign ministry spokesman said. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions", Huang said.

Huang said coal imports dropped by three-quarters in the first half, and all those shipments had been made before February 18. But even before the test - which Washington and Seoul labeled "destabilizing and unlawful" - Americans and many people in the Asia-Pacific region held negative views of North Korea and its nuclear weapons program.

U.S. President Donald Trump condemned the trade relationship between the two Asian nations and is now questioning whether Beijing is really doing its part on neutralizing North Korean threat.

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