North Korea On Its Own as China Cuts Oil Exports to Rogue Nuclear State

Reuters

China announced Saturday it will ban exports of some petroleum products to North Korea, as well as imports of textiles from the isolated North in compliance with a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution. 

The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website that China would limit exports of refined petroleum products from Oct. 1, ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas and imports of textiles immediately. 

China, North Korea

North Korean soldiers chat as they stand guard behind national flags of China, front, and North Korea on a boat anchored along the banks of Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on June 10, 2013. Jacky Chen/Reuters

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China, North Korea’s most important trading partner, is one of the pariah state's few sources of hard currency.

The tougher stance follows North Korea’s largest nuclear test earlier this month. In response, the UN passed a range of new sanctions against North Korea, including petroleum and textiles restrictions.

A limited amount of petroleum allowed under the UN resolution will still be exported to North Korea.

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The ban on textiles, North Korea’s second largest export, is expected to cost the country around $700 million a year.

China and Russia initially opposed measures to restrict oil exports to North Korea, but then agreed to reduced measures.

North Korea has a limited energy production capacity, but does refine some petroleum from crude oil, which is not banned under the latest UN agreement.

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The measures follow an escalating war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump labeled Kim a “madman” and taunted him as ‘rocket man,” while in a rare personal statement this week Kim lashed out, and referred to Trump as “mentally deranged” and a “dotard.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged calm and likened the argument to  a kindergarten scrap, with North Korea’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, expected to speak at the United Nations General Assembly later on Saturday.

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