China-North Korea trade slows down: MOFCOM

2017-07-07 00:40:59 | From:

China's trade withNorth Korea, especially imports, has been declining in recent years, official figures show.

Imports to China from North Korea totaled $720 million in the first five months of the year, down 9.3 percent from the previous year, Gao Feng, a spokesperson for China'sMinistry of Commerce(MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday.

China's General Administration of Customs said on June 23 that North Korean imports were worth $123.8 million in May, down 31 percent from a year earlier and the third lowest on record since June 2014.

Bilateral trade has shown signs of slowdown in recent years due to a raft of factors, and China engages in trade and economic cooperation with North Korea when it is fulfilling its international obligations, according to MOFCOM.

Experts said that instead of merely urging China to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, it is time for the US to use more diplomatic methods and give up its selfish motives by strengthening its military presence in Northeast Asia over the Korean Peninsula issue.

US PresidentDonald Trumptweeted on Wednesday saying that "trade between China and North Korea grew 40 percent in the first quarter. So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"

Trump posted the tweet shortly before leaving for Warsaw, Poland on his way to theG20summit in Germany on Friday and Saturday.

Despite Trump's accusations on China, CNBC News noted that the latest trade data suggests Trump's tweet missed its mark, and that China's trade with North Korea has been shrinking in the past years.

China has banned imports of coal, iron ore, gold and rare earths, and several other raw minerals from North Korea, and had banned sales of jet fuel to North Korea. Following UN Security Council resolutions, the embargo immediately took effect, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website in June.

"China has made efforts to fulfill theUN sanctions on North Korea, and the current imports from the country are for the livelihood of the North Korean people," Dong Xiangrong, a research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Despite China's efforts on imposing UN sanctions, it still insists that sanctions are not the only method to push North Korea to return to the negotiating table, and they could not directly lead to North Korea's giving up of its nuclear tests as the US wants, Dong said.

"The US has unrealistic expectations on China to take tougher action against North Korea. As a rather reclusive country, North Korea could survive for quite a long time even if China severs all exchanges with it. And its people would be the first to suffer from poverty," Dong said.

"The US has selfish motives in strengthening its alliance with Japan and South Korea as well as strengthening its military presence in Northeast Asia over the Korean Peninsula issue. But because the situation is beyond its control, it is time for the US to use more diplomatic methods, including talks with North Korea, instead of pressuring China," Dong said.

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