China defends iron imports, stresses N Korea trade continues as normal

China defends iron imports, stresses N Korea trade continues as normal

China defends iron imports, stresses N Korea trade continues as normal

"I'm introducing a legislation that will create a global embargo against North Korea to shut off access to the U.S. financial systems and the systems and sources of trade that wish to continue to do business with North Korea", Gardner said in a statement.

The US Congress is pushing for a bill meant to block companies with North Korea ties from using the American financial system amid growing calls for secondary sanctions against entities in China and elsewhere that may assist with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

The exports were largely driven by textile products and other traditional labor-intensive goods that are not included on the United Nations embargo list, Huang Songping, a customs spokesman, said at a briefing in Beijing.

Now, the Trump administration is reportedly considering a fresh round of sanctions against small Chinese financial firms and shell companies that conduct business with North Korea, two senior US officials told Reuters.

North Korean restaurants in China have also closed in increasing numbers, the report states. Previous Chinese customs data showed two-way trade with the North had risen 30.6 percent in dollar terms in the first three months of the year.

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"So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" he added.

China insists none of its current trade with Pyongyang is in violation of global sanctions. Under Security Council resolution 2321, North Korean exports of iron and iron ore for civil purposes, and not related to North Korea's nuclear program, are not subject to the sanctions.

China does not want a flood of millions of hungry refugees coming over its northeast border if the Pyongyang regime collapses, and it certainly does not want the 28,000 US troops now stationed in South Korea to be able to move all the way up the peninsula.

The new data reflects China's attempt to pull off a delicate balancing act between the US and North Korea, where it wants to prevent the regime collapsing because it worries about what that would mean for regional stability.

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