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China upholds UN sanctions as trade with NoKor rises

By: AFP

BEIJING – China insisted yesterday that it was abiding by United Nations sanctions on North Korea despite a jump in its trade with the nuclear-armed nation that comes amid growing US calls for Beijing to rein in its neighbor.

Sino-US relations have soured in recent weeks as President Donald Trump has urged Beijing to step up diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear ambitions.

Tensions rose after North Korea’s test this month of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the US mainland.

Despite Washington’s calls for action, trade between China and its neighbor increased 10.5 percent to $2.5 billion in the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year, including a 29.1 percent jump in exports.

But customs administration spokesman Huang Songping said Beijing was upholding the UN sanctions against the regime of Kim Jong-Un.

“Simple accumulated data cannot be used as evidence to question China’s severe attitude in carrying out UN Security Council resolutions,” Huang told a news briefing.

He pointed to a 13.2 percent drop in imports from North Korea in the same period as an example of the pressure, adding that there have been sharp decreases every month since March.

“UN Security Council sanctions are not a total ban on shipments. Trade related to DPRK people’s livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions,” Huang said.

China announced in February the suspension of coal imports from the North, striking a blow at a major source of income for the hermit state.

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