Chinese Customs reports imports drop from North Korea


Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said during a news conference on Thursday that the North's missile test-firing could be a "roadshow" aimed at selling the weapons. With literally everything in North Korea already totally sanctioned, however, the administration appears to be set on having to go after businesses outside of North Korea, but with some business ties to them.

She added that all of the demonstrations of strength are really a roadshow for the North to sell some very unsafe technology to a rogue nation or lone wolf.

This week, North Korean state television claimed that they would "turn the USA into a pile of ash" if Trump used military force to contain their nuclear program, the latest in a series of similar threats against Washington and Seoul.

The decline follows China's decision in February to ban all imports of North Korean coal. It's unlikely that will be the case, and the real question is likely how long the U.S. can throw sanctions at smaller Chinese companies before it starts to impact what is ultimately America's largest trading partner.

The fresh and potential sanctions could target "low-hanging fruit", or smaller institutions rather than any of China's bigger banks, but the breadth of and when the sanctions are put in place will be contingent on talks between the US and China Wednesday, administration sources told Reuters.

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BEIJING (AP) - China defended Thursday its purchase of iron ore from North Korea following criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump and said it is "strictly and earnestly" complying with United Nations sanctions. He called out the "nearly 40%" increase in trade in the first three months of the year on Twitter last week. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!"

The rise in trade was driven by a 29.1% increase in exports from a year earlier, while imports fell 13.2%, said Huang Songping, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs, at a briefing Thursday.

But Beijing, as it has in the past, largely resisted Trump's demands.

Whether the new penalties are put in place will depend on how a high-level economic meeting between US and Chinese officials in Washington next week goes and on how China responds to USA pressure on Pyongyang, according to Reuters.

"The new figures that the customs bureau have put out today suggest [they] have made an effort, at least on paper", he added.