China gives North Korea the coal shoulder

Beijing: China yesterday began a suspension of all coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year as it increases pressure on its communist neighbour to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The ban is in line with UN Security Council sanctions imposed in November in response to North Korea's fifth nuclear test two months earlier, the Commerce Ministry said yesterday.

China had already banned coal imports from North Korea in April last year, but those restrictions allowed some imports for civilian use.

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