December 12, 2016 11:01
Beijing on Saturday said it will suspend coal imports from North Korea until the end of this year to implement fresh UN Security Council sanctions adopted on Nov. 30.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on its website that China is suspending imports of coal from the North from Sunday until Dec. 31. But it will permit customs clearance of coal shipments that has already been sent or arrived in Chinese ports.
The new resolution stipulates that the North's coal exports must not exceed US$53.5 million or 1 million tons, whichever is lower, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 31, and $400.87 million or 7.5 million tons per year from Jan. 1 next year.
Beijing took just 10 days after the resolution was adopted to suspend imports because they have already exceeded the annual limit. China took up to six months before it acted on previous resolutions.
A resolution in March already banned shipments of North Korean coal but left a back door open for "livelihood" purposes, which meant China's imports continued more or less as before.
Under the new curbs the North's annual coal exports will dwindle by about $700 million a year from some $1.1 billion.
Wu Dawei, China's chief nuclear negotiator, told his South Korean counterpart Kim Hong-kyun in a meeting Friday that Beijing will "faithfully implement" the latest resolution.
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