CNN reports, China is stopping imports of North Korean coal for the rest of 2017.
“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,” said the statement posted on the ministry's website.
Coal is North Korea's main export and an important source of foreign currency for its fragile economy. Most of North Korea's coal is shipped to China, its only major ally on the global stage.
…In their first meeting, new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday stressed to the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, the growing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
Tillerson urged China to “use all available tools to moderate North Korea's destabilizing behavior,” said acting US State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
In late January, several Chinese ministries jointly issued an extensive list of prohibited items for export to North Korea in compliance of Resolution 2321.
That ban covered military-civilian dual-use articles related to weapons of mass destruction — including not only chemicals and weapons technologies, but also design software, high-speed cameras and truck chassis.
…Beijing remains Pyongyang's biggest trade partner, providing an economic and political lifeline to the increasingly isolated regime.
China views North Korea as a strategic buffer between itself and South Korea, which has a sizable US military presence. It also fears a potential refugee crisis on its doorstep if the Pyongyang regime suddenly collapses.
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