Customs: Imports drop from the DPRK

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-14 06:29

China's imports from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have seen a drastic drop in the past four months and it "has strictly abided" by United Nations Security Council resolutions, a customs official said.

Huang Songping, spokesman of General Administration of Customs, said on Thursday at a Beijing news conference that China's total imports from the DPRK amounted to $880 million in the first six months of this year, a year-on-year drop of 13.2 percent.

In March the year-on-year decrease was 36.5 percent, and in June it was 28.9 percent, Huang said.

UN Security Council Resolution 2270, approved in March 2016, included a ban on all exports of materials like coal, iron and iron ore from the DPRK.

As part of China's moves to honor resolutions that target Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, China suspended coal imports from its northeastern neighbor starting Feb 19, the Ministry of Commerce confirmed later in the same month.

China imported only 2.67 million metric tons of coal from the DPRK in the first half of this year, a year-on-year drop of 74.5 percent, Huang noted.

All coal imports from the DPRK happened before Feb 18, and "this is a sign of China's implementing the UNSC resolutions", Huang said.

US President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet this month that China-DPRK trade in the first quarter "grew almost 40 percent". But Huang said the total trade figure in the first six months was $2.55 billion, an increase of 10.5 percent.

China's exports to the DPRK increased by 29.1 percent in the same period, but Huang said that was mainly driven by traditional labor-intensive commodities such as textiles, which are outside the embargo lists.

That increase "cannot be used as evidence questioning China's seriousness in fulfilling UNSC resolutions", Huang said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Chinese exports of iron to the DPRK for civilian purposes do not relate to the sanctions targeting Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, and China will continue implementing the resolutions "in an all-out manner".

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