Updated: September 23, 2017 9:32:32 am
In a sign of growing frustration, China on Saturday imposed a limit on oil supplies to North Korea under United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile development, reported news agency AP. China is North Korea’s last major trading partner, diplomatic ally and energy supplier. The Commerce Ministry said the exports of refined petroleum to Pyongyang will be limited to 2 million barrels per year and sales of liquefied natural gas banned outright, effective January 1, 2018.
It wasn’t immediately clear how big the reduction might possibly be as China doesn’t disclose details of trade with isolated North Korea. As per AP, the ministry also said it will ban textile imports from the North. The sale of liquefied natural gas has been banned outright and the export of refined petroleum has been reduced to two barrels per year. North Korea relies heavily on textiles, it’s one last major source of foreign revenue. Beijing has already cut off purchases of iron ore, coal, seafood and other goods.
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China accounts for around 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade, so Beijing’s cooperation is critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Since time immemorial, Chinese leaders have long been considered North Korea’s diplomatic protectors but now express increasing frustration with the government of Kim Jong Un. Beijing has supported the fresh rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions but are wary of pushing Pyongyang too hard for fear the government might fall. They also argue against doing anything that might hurt ordinary North Koreans.
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Donald Trump mocked Kim as a “Rocket Man” on a” suicide mission” at the UN General Assembly. He also said, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea if forced to defend itself.” Trump ordered new sanctions on Thursday that opened the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under Kim Jong Un’s leadership as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.
(With inputs from AP)
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