North Korean defectors down as border tightened

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 18, 2017

Chinese customs data reveals the country's trade with North Korea jumped by more than 10 percent this year.

Asserting that there is no military solution to the threat of a nuclear North Korea, Senator Edward Markey, ranking member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity, said one must utilise direct negotiations with Pyongyang alongside increased economic sanctions pressure from China to bring the Kim regime to the table and ultimately rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons. "We are reviewing it how and how much to pay".

The decline follows China's decision in February to ban all imports of North Korean coal.

Last week U.S. President Donald Trump denounced China's trade with North Korea, saying it had grown nearly 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.

North Korea has been facing increased isolation because of repeatedly defying United Nations resolutions by conducting frequent ballistic missile tests. As a result, "accurately analyzing year-on-year changes is hard", according to diplomatic sources.

The overall rise in trade has been driven by China's exports to North Korea, which were up by almost 30% in the first half of the year.

The Trump administration angered China last month by imposing sanctions on a Chinese bank accused of laundering North Korean cash and approving a $1.3 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province.

The execution of Kim Jong-Un's uncle Jang Song Thaek, once the second most powerful man in the isolated country, sent shockwaves beyond North Korea's borders.

The timing and scope of the U.S. action will depend heavily on how China responds to pressure for tougher steps against North Korea when USA and Chinese officials meet for a high-level economic dialog in Washington on Wednesday, the administration sources told Reuters.

"It's high time for the United States to maximise worldwide economic pressure against Kim Jong-Un's regime as well as against the many foreign banks and foreign companies that are enabling it, especially in China", said Rubio, who led in introducing the legislation.

"The sanctions imposed by the [United Nations] are not a comprehensive embargo", he said.

Diplomats told Reuters that Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing worldwide sanctions on its neighbour.

"What China enforces is United Nations resolutions, not the domestic law of certain countries". "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions", Huang said.

Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to Washington, said on Monday that secondary sanctions were "not acceptable".

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