China defends iron imports, stresses N Korea trade continues as normal

Elias Hubbard
July 16, 2017

The new measures would target Chinese small-and-medium sized financial institutions and shell companies suspected of "funneling cash" into Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. However, some of China's largest banks will not be affected.

That the White House would consider a second round of sanctions so soon after the first indicates that the Trump administration is willing to back up its tough rhetoric on North Korea.

China has always been the North's main diplomatic defender but increasingly expresses frustration with leader Kim Jong Un's provocative behavior.

Pelosi expressed her deepening concern about the North's missile development, saying that when she visited Pyongyang many years ago, North Korean officials said they make missiles to sell.

China has insisted that it is committed to enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea, even though its own figures show that trade between the two countries increased by more than 10 per cent.

But Beijing is also eager to avoid riling Trump.

North Korea's Workers' Party may be pushing "optimistic propaganda" inside the country and among compatriots in China, because sanctions are taking a toll on the lives of ordinary people. One of its affiliates is suspected of being involved in the transport of rocket ammunition as part of North Korea's arms exports, according to the report. But it is especially anxious about the collapse of the regime with which it shares a border, and fears both an influx of millions of North Korean refugees and the possibility of a unified Korea with US troops again at the Yalu River. Trump tweeted on July 5.

Shortly after their meeting, Trump said he had told Xi that China would get a better trade deal if it reined in North Korea. "It's not like, oh, gee, you just do whatever we say", Trump said. North Korean men who try to leave are likely to be rapidly identified as absent by their work units.

Sanctions are the only action so far that are specifically meant to pressure China on North Korea; arms sales and fleet movements have happened before and would have again sooner or later.

During a UN Security Council meeting last week, Haley threatened secondary sanctions if the council could not agree on new sanctions - though she did not cite China by name.

The company in question is a Dandong, China-based trading firm.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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