China says trade with North Korea rose 10.5pc in first half

Violet Powell
July 14, 2017

China's exports of steel products eased in June from the month before as tight local supply kept material at home, while shipments of aluminium were steady, customs data showed on Thursday.

Total trade with Pyongyang reached $2.55 billion (SR9.56 billion) in the period from January to June, propped by a 29.7 percent increase in exports to $1.67 billion.

"As neighbours, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges", he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions.

A Chinese government official said Thursday that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period previous year.

Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.

Cui said bilateral trade declined in 2015 and 2016, and Chinese imports from North Korea dropped by 41 percent in April and 32 percent in May as a result of the coal import ban.

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Such purchases are permitted under the sanctions and generate no revenue for nuclear development, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang."We will continue to strictly and earnestly implement the North Korea-related Security Council resolution in its entirety", said Geng at a regular news briefing.

Huang said the price fluctuation of commodities could also potentially boost the trade figure as measured by value.

Washington says the exercises are needed to maintain defenses against North Korea and US officials say Beijing could face USA economic and trade pressure unless it does more to rein in North Korea.

"This is a distorted picture", China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said in a speech to a Washington think tank on Monday.

Since the July 4 ballistic missile test, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has been pushing for fresh measures that may include further curbs on China's trade with North Korea.

Though Trump took a more conciliatory tone on the North Korea issue and China's role at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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