China sends a message to Donald Trump with North Korea coal ban
Feb 20, 2017, 00:37
China says it will suspend all imports of coal from North Korea for the rest of the year, depriving Pyongyang of a crucial source of foreign exchange following its latest missile test.
China's commerce ministry said the ban would operate until the end of 2017, the BBC reports.
Beijing signalled its tougher stance last week when it rejected a shipment of coal from North Korea just a day after the country conducted a ballistic missile test.
Shortly after the missile test, U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea was "a big, big problem ... and we will deal with that very strongly".
Even Beijing's patience seems to be running out, as the Chinese Commerce Ministry said that it would stop all coal imports from North Korea.
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.
In practice, that exception was the cover for coal to continue to flow across the border in huge quantities, with imports of nonlignite coal up 14.5 percent previous year to 22.5 million metric tons (24.8 million US tons).
This is not the first time China has cut coal imports. North Korea tested a new surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile last Sunday in clear violation of worldwide regulations.
In the wake of North Korea's latest test of a nuclear-capable missile, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on February 16 vowed that Washington would defend Japan and South Korea with its full arsenal, including nuclear weapons.
North Korea is China's fourth-biggest supplier of coal. "That's why we are more and more strict with North Korea". North Korea also explained that the missile they recently launched, the Pukguksong 2, was of the same type with the one they also launched last August 2016, reported by BBC News.
"Beijing took the assassination as a direct affront to China".
During the trilateral meeting, the foreign ministers agreed for their countries to cooperate with each other to "ensure that all countries fully and effectively implement all their obligations" regarding the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions on sanctions against North Korea.
This year's annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises between South Korea and the United States are expected to be the largest ever, with the two allies reportedly also discussing the possibility of deploying a USA strategic asset to the peninsula during the drills.
North Korea blasted off a series of missiles and conducted two nuclear tests in 2016 in its quest to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the United States mainland. "Xi is less willing to tolerate these provocations", he said.
China has not given up hope for a new round of diplomacy with North Korea to prevent Pyongyang making further advances in its weapons programme in violation of United Nations resolutions, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.
While the ministry did not disclose the formal reason for the import suspension, the recent developments surrounding North Korean ballistic missile test and the alleged assassination of Kim Jong-Nam could both be the reason behind the Chinese decision. "We won't pay attention to North Korea's interests anymore". We urge the South Korean government to quickly approach the private group that erected the statue and the local government to start discussions for its removal.
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