China has banned North Korean textile imports. In addition sales of liquefied natural gas and condensate oil to North Korean are banned.
China follows UN sanctions
Textiles are one of North Korea’s last major sources of foreign revenue. Almost all of the other counties in the world have banned trade with North Korea. China has now joined that group. Under United Nations sanctions Beijing had already cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods.
The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website that China would limit exports of refined petroleum products from October 1. It will also ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately. Imports of textiles from North Korea would also be banned immediately, the statement said.
China hesitant to act
China is North Korea’s most important ally. China has accounted for some 90% of North Korea’s trade.
The Chinese leadership is said to be growing frustrated with Kim's defiant stance on the nuclear issue and the resulting instability in Northeast Asia. In spite of that, Beijing has been reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard. It fears the regime could collapse and that sanctions could hurt ordinary North Koreans. China also fear that Russia will take take its place as the key trading partner with North Korea.
Hopeful or harmful signs?
Some see hopeful signs that China’s tighten trade with North Korean will force North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. “These restrictions from China – one of its few remaining trading partners – could have more of an impact on North Koreans than we’ve previously seen,” said Chen Fengying, a senior researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
Nonetheless, on September 24 North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s told the United Nations General Assembly firing his country’s rockets at the US mainland was “inevitable” after US President Donald Trump called Pyongyang’s leader “rocket man.”
“Through such a prolonged and arduous struggle, now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” Ri told the annual gathering of world leaders. “It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces,” he said.