China’s trade with isolated North Korea rose more than 10 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier, a Chinese official said on Thursday, amid pressure from the United States for Beijing to pressurise its troublesome neighbour.
Last week US President Donald Trump denounced China’s trade with North Korea, saying it had grown almost 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.
China has repeatedly said it is fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on nuclear-armed North Korea and there is nothing wrong with what it terms “normal” trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions.
Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping told a briefing on China’s overall trade figures that total trade with North Korea expanded by 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion in the first six months of the year.
While China’s imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent to $880 million in the period from January to June, exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion, he said.
The exports were largely driven by textile products and other traditional labour-intensive goods not included on the United Nations embargo list, Huang added.
“As neighbours, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges,” he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions.
Overall trade growth with North Korea slowed in June, compared with previous second-quarter months.
Trade in dollar terms with North Korea rose about 12 percent in June from a month earlier to $499 million, according to Reuters calculations based on previously released data.
The calculations do not reflect revisions to earlier figures that may not have been announced.
In May, trade with North Korea gained 14.5 percent from April to $443.5 million, previously released customs data show.
Numbers showing an increase are not evidence that China is failing to enforce U.N. resolutions, with imports from North Korea falling every month since March, Huang added.
China suspended imports of North Korean coal in February, while imports of iron ore accord with relevant UN resolutions, he said.
“China customs have all along fully, accurately, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant Security Council resolutions.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said UN resolutions did not cover iron and iron ore for civilian purposes, warning against confusion over UN sanctions being viewed as comprehensive sanctions on North Korea.
“For China to maintain normal economic relations with North Korea does not violate UN resolutions,” he told a daily news briefing.
Adding to the potential for further US-China trade friction, China had a $25.4-billion trade surplus with the United States in June, up from $22.0 billion in May, customs data showed. The surplus with the United States was China’s largest since October 2015.
While China has been angered by North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests, it also blames the United States and South Korea for worsening tension with their military exercises and not doing enough to get talks back on track, as Beijing has proposed.
Though Trump took a more conciliatory tone on the North Korea issue and China’s role at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, Beijing has begun taking a harder rhetorical line with Washington in the past few days.
China’s Foreign Ministry this week urged a halt to what it called the “China responsibility theory” on North Korea, saying all parties needed to pull their weight.
Trade between China and North Korea has declined in both 2015 and 2016, a senior government-backed academic said in a front-page comment in the overseas edition of the official People’s Daily on Wednesday.
“Certain countries have no right to make wanton criticisms of China,” wrote Su Xiaohui of the Foreign Ministry think-tank, the China Institute of International Studies.
An “unexpected” jump in first-quarter trade between China and North Korea masked a declining trend, the state-run Global Times newspaper said last week.
Even a casual review of sanctions demonstrates that they don’t work. If one uses the overt stated purposes of sanctions, i. e. to change the behavior of a country towards a stated purpose, sanctions are a miserably performing failure. What sanctions do is piss off the populace of the target country against the leaders of sanctions. That’s because the sanctions end up punishing the citizens, not the governing powers. Sanctions also create a lucrative functioning black market which to a large extent nullifies the impact of the sanctions as they affect the interests of the government of the target country. Sanctions do however provide cover to the countries imposing the sanctions who will claim that thet are doing something substantive to counter the behavior of the target country. And it gives the politcians and the media something to gossip and posture about. history shows nothing works other than hostile engagement or negotiations directly between the target country and the sanctioning countries.
Art, Your "history shows nothing works other than hostile engagement or negotiations directly between the target country and the sanctioning countries," is such a common sense, self evident truth. Why can’t Washington see the light even after 16 years of knocking the American head against the wall insisting on sanctions?
So, the USA has a quarrel with North Korea and wants to punish China because China does not want to punish North Korea. Can someone in his right mind expects a third country to take part in a private quarrel between two countries? Moreover, USA is wrong in its quarrel with North Korea. Korea is one country and Koreans are Koreans whether they live in the north, south, east or west of the country. They are brothers, sisters and cousins. USA invaded Korea in 1950, massacred millions of Koreans and are still occupying part of Korea with 30,000 soldiers. So, the Americans are the aggressors, the invaders and the murderers. The Koreans are merely defending themselves and their country. The fact that the Koreans develop weapons to defend themselves and their country against invaders is within their right. Actually, defending oneself against attacks is the most basic right of a human being. There is therefore nothing wrong for the Koreans to develop weapons to defend themselves. It is a shame and a violation of the right of the Koreans when the United Nations sanctions the Koreans because the Koreans develop weapons to defend themselves.
George Koo Thus the election of a non-politician in Amderica’s grand experiment to change things.
Sorry Michael, I don’t see it that way. I can’t get into a complicated protracted debate over how the United States, Russia and China used the Korean conflict as a proxy for their struggles with each other, but dealing with today: North Korea is supplying and has supplied other countries with nuclear and missile technology as a means of getting resources including financial resources. Generally speaking these countries have been sworn enemies of the United States. North Korea is also a sworn enemy of the United States and overtly has and still does make threats against us. We could ignore these threats as we have over the decades except now North Korea has reached a maturity and sophistication that they could actually follow through on their threats. So now we have to deal with them taking them seriously. North Korea could be defeated by the USA but probably not before causing disastrous damage to South Korea our ally. So going to war with North Korea cannot happen unless North Korea unavoidably provokes either South Korea or the USA and leaves us no choice. Thus the United States chooses a non-war approach by trying to convince a country who can do significant damage to North Korea without waging war and that is China. China does not want war between North Korea and either South Korea or the USA. So there is a common ground for joint effort. China claims we are partly to blame for conducting coordinated war practice with South Korea. China conducts coordinated war practice with Russia. These events happen without getting into a war. We put in anti-missile missiles on North Korea’s border where thousands of missiles are aimed at South Korea. China threatens us and South Korea because the defensive missiles represent a beefed up ability to defend South Korea against not only North Korea. There is much hypocrisy in all this. We have negotiated with North Korea and made agreements with them in the past. They only used them to enhance their nuclear development because North Korea is in love with their nuclear weapons. There’s only one way this will end, unless China can help out by convincing North Korea to become a good international citizen and not a trouble maker.
If the USA removed all its soldiers and military equipment out of Korea, the Koreans would not threaten or attack the USA. The American soldiers are invading Korea.
what;s can to expressed
Michael Chan Bullshit! Kim, you and I would all like to see American soldiers out of South Korea. We are hostages there. If South Korea, who has benefitted enormously from its association with America wanted us gone, we would be gone.
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