China to limit oil supplies to North Korea

Beijing: China will restrict oil exports to and ban textile imports from North Korea, the commerce ministry announced today, as Beijing joined global efforts to enforce tighter UN Security Council sanctions on Pyongyang for its provocative nuclear and missile tests.

China, the closest ally of North Korea, accounts for about 90 per cent of Pyongyang’s foreign trade.

Beijing has halted its imports of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods, implementing UN sanctions imposed on North Korea for its provocative nuclear and missile tests.

As China is North Korea most important trading partner, the suspension of textile imports is expected to affect Pyongyang’s income.

The Ministry of Commerce said it will implement UN Security Council Resolution 2375 by halting the export of liquefied natural gas and gas condensate to North Korea from today and limit exports of refined oil from October 1.

The ban on textile imports will be effective from today, it said.

Refined oil exports to North Korea from all UN members is capped at 500,000 barrels from October 1 to the end of the year and two million barrels annually from January 1, 2018.

China will suspend such exports once the total exports approaches the ceiling, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Exported refined oil products must be used fully on civil purposes, not for North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, or other activities banned by the UN Security Council, the ministry said.

A limited amount of petroleum products and liquefied natural gas, allowed under the UN resolution, would still be exported to North Korea.

The UN Sanctions followed recent missile and nuclear tests by the North Korean regime violating the previous resolutions.

China’s latest tougher stance is expected to bring about a financial isolation for Pyongyang, cutting off its international transactions routed through Chinese banks.

Yesterday, US President Donald Trump praised China for instructing its banks to cut off business with North Korea.

Last month, the US announced sanctions against five Chinese firms and one individual, two Singapore-based companies and three Russian citizens alleging that they supported North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.