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China's imports from North Korea plummet in December, lowest for four years

From Reuters - January 11, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinas imports from North Korea plunged in December to their lowest level in dollar terms since at least the start of 2014, with trade curbed by U.N. sanctions aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent year-on-year to $54.34 million, Huang Songping, Chinese customs spokesman, said in a briefing in Beijing on Friday. Thats the smallest monthly value since at least January 2014.

Chinese customs will formally release data for trade withNorth Korea in the second half of the month, along with a breakdown by product.

The United Nations began imposing sanctions on North Korea in 2006, but tougher measures were invoked in 2017 as tensions flared anew over the countrys nuclear and missile programs.

The penalties that came into force on Sept. 5 last year banned countries from buying coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from North Korea.

In November, China imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea, the second full month of the U.N. trade sanctions.

In terms of how big of an impact it (falling trade) had on North Korea, there was definitely impact because some of their products could only go to China while others could only be imported from China, said Chen Fengying, an economics expert at state-backed China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

You have to understand it was the most tense period for bilateral ties, and foreign relations determine trade relations.

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