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Chinese President Xi 'Could Do a Little Bit More' on North Korea

15 July 2017

The sanctions being prepared would leave larger Chinese banks unaffected but would deny smaller firms that do business with North Korea access to USA markets.

The response from North Korea came as the United Nations council is moving to impose another set of sanctions on North Korea for its test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week.

Pyongyang's state media said last week's test successfully verified the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead loaded on the test-launched missile, which experts fear may be able to reach Alaska.

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

Trump pledged repeatedly during his election campaign to get tough on Chinese trade practices deemed unfair to the United States, but his rhetoric softened after the friendlier-than-expected April summit with Mr. Xi.

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This would enable precision strikes against North Korea's immediate neighbors, including South Korea and Japan, but not the US, which is over 5,000 miles from the North Korean coast. China imported about 445 million metric tons of iron ore in the first five months of 2017, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, of which just 1.1 million metric tons came from North Korea.

Although Trump's irritation seems to have cooled after meeting Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit three days later - he tweeted they'd had an "excellent" meeting on trade and North Korea - his ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is pushing for a new round of sanctions that may include further restrictions on Chinese trade with North Korea. Imports from North Korea fell 13 percent.

The North says it will not abandon its missile and military nuclear programs until the USA ends its hostility toward Pyongyang. "UN Security Council sanctions are not a total ban on shipments". Those imports all came before February 18, an illustration of how China has enforced sanctions, Huang said.

"China has been constantly executing the UN Security Council resolution in a comprehensive, precise, earnest and strict way", Huang said. The Security Council approved a resolution in November that exempted transactions in iron and iron ore intended "exclusively for livelihood purposes".

Professor Park Jong Cheol of Gyeongsang National University told Daily NK that, "China agreed to every UNSC resolution adopted after North Korea's fourth and fifth nuclear tests". But it is especially anxious about the collapse of the regime with which it shares a border, and fears both an influx of millions of North Korean refugees and the possibility of a unified Korea with US troops again at the Yalu River.

Chinese President Xi 'Could Do a Little Bit More' on North Korea