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China Stops Importation Of Coal From North Korea; Move Was In Compliance Of UN Resolution

By February 27, 2017 at 10:04 pm
Informal talks between the US and North Korea canceled. (Photo : Getty Images)

China has stopped importing coal from North Korea starting Sunday and the ban will last for the rest of the year. The surprising move came on the heels of North Korea's missile test last week.

A notice issued by China's Ministry of Commerce and its customs agency revealed that the decision to halt imports was done to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2312.

According to a statement posted on the Ministry of Commerce's official website, the "imports of coal produced in North Korea - including shipments already declared to the customs but yet to be released - will be suspended for the remainder of this year."

The move is seen as a sign of China's firm commitment to abide by Resolution 2321, which is touted to impose some of the harshest sanctions against Kim Jong-un's regime. The penalties were placed after North Korea violated a UN ban on testing an alleged nuclear warhead.

China had helped draft the resolution and pushed for its implementation.

Reports had surfaced last week of a port in eastern China rejecting a massive coal shipment from North Korea. The country's Foreign Affairs office didn't comment on or confirm the allegations at the time. However, a spokesman said that China "fully, earnestly and faithfully enforces relevant Security Council resolutions."

The ban is expected to hit North Korea where it matters the most - its economy. Coal is the country's primary export and a key source of foreign currency.

But Ri Gi Song, an economist at North Korea's Institute of Economics, said that though his country does export coal, the amount isn't a lot so they won't "feel very much affected by the so-called restrictions."

In spite of the ban and its clear support of Resolution 2321, the Chinese government believes that the issue with North Korea can still be resolved diplomatically. Fu Ying, the chairman of China's Foreign Affairs Committee, said at the Munich Security Conference that the UN has to realize that if it doesn't talk to North Korea, "you will only drive them in the wrong direction further."

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