North Korea

China stops all exports of oil products to North Korea in November

Sales of corn, rice also plunge as Beijing appears to go above and beyond sanctions imposed by United Nations

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 5:59pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 5:59pm

China exported no oil products to North Korea in November, Chinese customs data showed, apparently going above and beyond sanctions imposed earlier this year by the United Nations in a bid to limit petroleum shipments to the isolated country.

Tension has flared this year over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, pursued in defiance of years of UN resolutions. Last week, the UN Security Council imposed new caps on trade with the restive nation, including limiting oil product shipments to just 500,000 barrels a year.

Beijing also imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November, the second full month of the latest trade sanctions imposed by the UN.

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China, the main source of North Korea’s fuel, did not export any petrol, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its neighbour last month, according to data released on Tuesday by the General Administration of Customs.

Beijing’s move to turn off the taps completely is rare. In March 2003, China suspended oil supplies to North Korea for three days after Pyongyang fired a missile into waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

Chinese exports of corn to North Korea in November also slumped, down 82 per cent from a year earlier to 100 tonnes, the lowest since January. Exports of rice plunged 64 per cent to 672 tonnes, the lowest since March.

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Trade between North Korea and China has slowed throughout the year, particularly after China banned coal purchases in February. In November, China’s trade with North Korea totalled US$388 million, one of the lowest monthly volumes this year.

China has renewed its call on all countries to make constructive efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, urging the use of peaceful means to resolve issues.

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But tension flared again after North Korea on November 29 said it had successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile test that put the United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, Chinese exports of liquefied petroleum gas to North Korea, often used for cooking, rose 58 per cent in November from a year earlier to 99 tonnes. Exports of ethanol, which can be turned into a biofuel, gained 82 per cent to 3,428 cubic metres.