European Union foreign ministers consider further sanctions on North Korea

The targeting of clothes or textile manufacturers may be outside current parameters of USA sanctions, but according to Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in South Korea, the move may be a response to North Korea's changing approach to earning foreign currency for the regime as Chinese restrictions have banned exports like coal, News 1 reported.

South Korea's defence ministry proposed a meeting to be held Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom to ease tensions after Pyongyang tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.

The bipartisan legislation on North Korea introduced last week in Washington may be treading new territory with sanctions against at least one Chinese garment company suspected of hiring North Korean forced laborers. Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.

But foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said United Nations resolution 2321 allows imports of iron and iron ore if the income is for the livelihood of civilians.

The offer came as the United States is locked in hard negotiations with China at the United Nations on a new sanctions resolution in response to the ICBM test.

Beijing agreed in March 2016 to enforce United Nations sanctions following North Korea's test of a missile possibly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. They argue against disrupting trade in food and other goods that might cause public hardship.

Despite Washington's calls for action, trade between China and its neighbour increased 10.5 percent to $2.5 billion in the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year, including a 29.1 percent jump in exports. He complained that indicated Beijing was failing to do enough. The Data Base Centre for North Korean Human Rights has estimated that the North Koreans in Russian Federation provide their government with an estimated $120 million a year.

Huang said month-on-month figures showed an even sharper decline. It would leave larger Chinese banks untouched for now, the official said. "Trade related to DPRK people's livelihood, especially those that reflect humanitarianism should not be influenced by the sanctions", Huang said.

  • Kyle Peterson