BEIJING – Imports of coal from North Korea by China, which cancelled these purchases in February to sanction Pyongyang for its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, were down 51.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year, China’s national customs authority reported on Thursday.
In total, Beijing imported 2.68 million tons of coal during this year’s first quarter.
All imports were made prior to Feb. 18, when Beijing announced a ban on purchases of coal from North Korea until the end of the year in line with the United Nations’ Resolution 2321.
“Chinese Customs will strictly abide by the UN Security Council resolution and China’s laws to carry out measures to ban relevant imports from North Korea,” said Huang Songping, spokesman of China’s General Administration of Customs, as cited by Chinese financial news site Caixin.
Although the UN resolution was issued at the end of November, China only applied it in February, a few days after Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered in an alleged plot by Pyongyang.
Kim Jong-nam had been living in Macau under the protection of the Chinese regime, according to some observers.
China has been accused by some international media outlets of pursuing pre-sanctions trade with North Korea because of the historic and ideological ties between Beijing and Pyongyang, but the Chinese communist regime insists that it fully complies with UN orders.