U.S. considers sanctions on Chinese companies over North Korea

U.S. considers sanctions on Chinese companies over North Korea

U.S. considers sanctions on Chinese companies over North Korea

China rejected claims on Thursday that it had violated UN Security Council resolutions by increasing trade with North Korea.

US President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet this month that China-North Korea trade in the first quarter "grew nearly 40 percent".

China announced in February the suspension of coal imports from the North, striking a blow at a major source of income for the hermit state.

Sino-US relations have soured in recent weeks as President Donald Trump has urged Beijing to step up diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes. He called out the "nearly 40%" increase in trade in the first three months of the year on Twitter last week.

The UN and the US have attempted to use sanctions for the past decade in an attempt to stem North Korea's nuclear weapons development, but the latest July 4 test, which demonstrated a significant advance in its capabilities, have forced worldwide bodies to reconsider their response going forward. North Korean men who try to leave are likely to be rapidly identified as absent by their work units.

China has insisted that it is committed to enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea, even though its own figures show that trade between the two countries increased by more than 10 per cent.

All coal imports from North Korea happened before Feb 18, and "this is a sign of China's implementing the UNSC resolutions", Huang said.

But Beijing is also eager to avoid riling Trump.

China insists none of its current trade with Pyongyang is in violation of global sanctions.

"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 US and China, which could negatively impact China's overall export performance", said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

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