China Trade in June Beats Expectations

President Trump criticized Beijing for the purchases last week, saying China is not using its economic leverage to halt North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile program.

China suspended imports of North Korean coal in February, while imports of iron ore accord with relevant United Nations resolutions, he said.

China's Customs Administration announced Thursday that trade with the global pariah North grew 10.5 percent to $2.5 billion between January and June, with exports soaring to 29.1 percent during that period.

While Beijing is North Korea's longtime ally in the region, the state has voiced frustration with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's aggressive behavior.

"Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40% in the first quarter".

A Chinese government official said Thursday that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period previous year.

"Simple accumulated data can not be used as evidence to question China's severe attitude in carrying out UN Security Council resolutions", Huang told a press briefing.

"We hope all relevant sides can make sure that they are clear that Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea are not comprehensive economic sanctions", Shuang said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on July 5 that China hadn't done enough to pressure its neighbor, after Pyongyang successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

Cui said bilateral trade declined in 2015 and 2016, and Chinese imports from North Korea dropped by 41 percent in April and 32 percent in May as a result of the coal import ban. "Trade related to the people livelihood in North Korea, especially if it embodies humanitarian principles, should not be affected by sanctions", said Huang at a separate news briefing.

"If Trump were to give up on Chinese support in terms of containing North Korea, then there's a risk of increased trade tensions between the USA and China, which could negatively impact China's overall export performance", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

  • Rogelio Becker