China to suspend imports of coal from North Korea

What's behind Kim Jong-nam's assassination?

China has also come under significant worldwide pressure to do more to rein in North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, while President Xi Jinping is believed to have become increasingly irritated by Kim Jong Un's behavior.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Saturday that the ban, which went into effect Sunday, would last through December 31, which comes after Pyongyang's universally condemned intermediate ballistic missile launch one week ago.

China has once agreed to relatively suspend North Korea's coal imports, as reported by independent. Last week, US President Donald Trump said at a press conference that "obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly".

The ban, announced on Saturday, signals that Beijing is joining other nations in the region in the effort to curb Pyongyang's nuclear missile development.

Yun pointed out that the North's intermediate ballistic missile launch on February 12 once again showed the "actual and imminent threat of North Korea's nuclear and missile program" and was an opportunity to confirm the necessity of deploying Thaad. Coal is North Korea's most substantial exports and has always hinged on China for trade.

This was the first time South Korea's foreign minister brought the issue to Wang.

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North Korea launched a series of missiles and conducted two nuclear tests in 2016 in its quest to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the USA mainland.

"Today, what we see is nuclear test, sanction, nuclear test and then sanction again", said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. China also buys anthracite from Russia, Australia and Vietnam.

China's call for a new initiative contrasts with a more hawkish tone out of Washington.

"North Korea illegally launched yet another menacing ballistic missile".

He also called on China to get tougher.

US and South Korean military forces are preparing for a major annual joint exercise in March.

China may soon have company in making the shift.

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"On this point, the United States and North Korea. must quickly come to a political decision", he said. Some experts speculate that Chinese leadership could have taken the assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, who lived in Chinese Macau under Beijing's protection, as an insult.

"The case fully exposed the desperate irrationality of the Kim regime", he said.

China has backed the Kim dynasty since it took charge after the Korean War, in part to prevent having a U.S. ally on its border. He had lived outside North Korea for many years and had close links to China.

"Of course they may have methods to replace the damage, but just by looking at the size of the loss, that's a pretty big blow", he said.

"Coal represents one-third of North Korea's total exports". The restrictions also come as China's peak winter demand season begins winding down and regulators weigh reinstating domestic mining output limits to avoid the reemergence of a supply glut.

"We continue to urge China to exert its unique leverage as North Korea's largest trading partner to convince Pyongyang to return to serious talks on denuclearization", the official added.

Fu Ying, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's legislature and was a vice foreign minister until 2013, said on Saturday that United States policy is only making things worse. "You have to realize - without talking with them, you will only drive them in the wrong direction further".

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"For enforcing the no.2321 resolution of the United Nations Security Council, and according to the foreign trade law of the People's Republic of China and the no.81 notice in 2016 of ministry of commerce and general administration of customs, import of the coal from North Korea will be suspended (including the coal of which customs has already accepted the declaration but has not gone through the formality of customs). Xi is less willing to tolerate these provocations", he said.


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