China has long been North Korea’s main trading partner, continuously sending oil across the border. (ABC News: Matthew Carney)
China has announced it will limit oil supplies to North Korea under UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile development, further reducing support from Pyongyang’s last major trading partner and diplomatic ally.
- China to limit LNG and oil supplies to comply with UN sanctions on North Korea
- China has until now accounted for 90 per cent of trade with the North
- The action comes a day after Pyongyang warned it could test an H-bomb in the Pacific Ocean
The Commerce Ministry said China, the North’s main energy supplier, would ban all exports of liquified natural gas and condensates.
Exports of refined petroleum to the North will be limited to two million barrels per year from October 1, the Commerce Ministry said.
China does not disclose details of trade with the isolated North, so it was not immediately clear how large the possible reduction might be.
There will also be a ban on textile imports from the North, the ministry said.
Textiles are one of North Korea’s last major sources of foreign revenue following repeated rounds of UN sanctions under which Beijing cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods.
China accounts for some 90 per cent of the North’s trade, making its cooperation critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
Until recently, China had propped up North Korea with a continuous supply of oil across the border and diplomatic protection.
They are reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard for fear the government might collapse, and argue against doing anything that might hurt ordinary North Koreans.
But Beijing is expressing increasing frustration with the actions of Kim Jong-un and has supported the latest rounds of UN Security Council sanctions.
Petroleum exports for use in the North’s ballistic missile program or other activities are banned by UN sanctions, the Commerce Ministry said.
China’s move comes days after US President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on the hermit state and warned the US could “totally destroy” Pyongyang if it threatened the US or its allies.
The North called Mr Trump “deranged” and said the regime may consider testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.
A North Korean solder stands guard over oil barrels near the Chinese border. (AP: File/Chinatopix)