China claims cuts to North Korean imports in first half


Frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration could impose new sanctions on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang within weeks, two senior US officials said.

Friday's threat by North Korea comes amid increased tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, with US President Donald Trump repeatedly vowing to put an end to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"President Trump has said North Korea is 'behaving in a very, very unsafe manner", adding, "Something will have to be done about it", though he did not offer details about what responses his administration was considering.

As Kim Jong-Un is crossing another threshold with his successful test of the Hwasong-14 ICBM, U.S. military options to destroy his nuclear arsenal are "more grim than ever", warns Motoko Rich of New York Times, "any attempt to do so would provoke a brutal counterattack against South Korea too bloody and damaging to risk".

The response from North Korea came as the United Nations council is moving to impose another set of sanctions on North Korea for its test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, Yonhap News Agency reported. What the USA should do instead of pressuring China is devise a new policy toward the DPRK, says Brian Becker from the ANSWER Coalition.

"I've never talked to a Chinese or Russian who has this as a top concern, as opposed to the USA presence on the Korean peninsula, or the possible collapse of North Korea", he said.

If China will be convinced to join the efforts, it can fully enforce United Nations embargo against North Korea, impose an oil embargo and sanction Chinese banks and companies doing business with the country. But opinion is more divided in the developing countries in the region.

China's overall imports from North Korea fell 13% compared to the first half of 2016, said Huang Songping, a spokesman for China's customs department.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has proposed fresh sanctions against North Korea in hopes of dealing with the problem.

As part of China's moves to honor resolutions that target Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, China suspended coal imports from its northeastern neighbor starting Feb 19, the Ministry of Commerce confirmed later in the same month.

North Korea has long sent workers to horrific logging camps in central Russian Federation, in places compared with Communist concentration camps like the Gulag.

The next stages of North Korea's missile development will probably only be known when it tests another missile.

Make no mistake, Kim Jong-Un is not an irrational madman, no matter the media portrays him.

The North has conducted five underground nuclear tests since 2006, despite worldwide sanctions, and is expected to carry out more tests following its test launch of the Hwasong-14.

None of our allies in Asia and the Pacific wish to develop nuclear weapons, both for historic and economic reasons.

Yesterday's drill, created to "sternly respond" to potential missile launches by the North, saw two U.S. bombers destroy "enemy" missile batteries and South Korean jets mount precision strikes against underground command posts. "So much for China working with us - but we had to give it a try!" Seoul has big interest in North Korean census surveys as the data are crucial for post-unification policy. But the global community cannot just watch the rising hostility between Trump and Kim from afar, because the opposing camps could take any action against universal norms.