A view of an entrance from North Korea towards China to the “Korea China Friendship Bridge,” which connects the two countries over the Yalu River (Photo by AP)
China is set to stop importing iron and seafood from North Korea as it moves to implement the new sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear programs.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Monday that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood from the North will be “completely prohibited” from Tuesday.
The new punitive measures, approved earlier this month by the UN Security Council including permanent members China and the United States, could cost Pyongyang $1 billion a year.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006. The measures are meant to stop Pyongyang from persuing its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, which it views as a deterrent against possible military action by the US and its regional allies.
China, Pyongyang’s longtime ally and largest trade partner, has previously defended such imports from North Korea.
Beijing, however, agreed to the sanctions amid pressure by US President Donald Trump, who accused Beijing of making “hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade (with Washington), yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.”
China has repeatedly said it is not Beijing’s responsibility to resolve the North’s issue. It has urged both Pyongyang and Washington to take steps to calm tensions and address each other’s concerns.
US President Donald Trump talks to Chinese president Xi Jinping at the start of the the G20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Trump has intensified threats against Pyongyang by saying he would unleash America’s “fire and fury like the world has never seen” on North Korea if Pyongyang continued its missile and nuclear programs.
His aggressive remarks prompted Pyongyang to hit back and announce plans to launch missile strikes on an area near the US Pacific territory of Guam.
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Trump in a phone discussion to avoid rhetoric or any action that would worsen tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Earlier this month, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned against any move which could escalate the crisis further, urging diplomatic and peaceful means to avoid tensions.
He called on all parties involved to seriously consider China’s dual suspension proposal, whereby North Korea halts its nuclear and missile tests, while South Korea and the United States stop joint military drills.

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