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China's agricultural exports to North Korea surge amid more sanctions

29 September 2017

In response to North Korea's ballistic missile launches and its sixth nuclear test, United Nations sanctions have expanded significantly and now include banning Pyongyang from exporting key items such as coal, iron, lead, seafood and textiles.

"So I would actually say it benefits China strategically in their competition against the United States that North Korea remain nuclearized", Cotton continued.

Several committee members noted that North Korea's economy has grown in recent months, and said China must do more.

A senior USA official says that China is seen to be changing its policy on North Korea, noting that Beijing is making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

He said it was vitally important that everyone strictly, fully and correctly implement all North Korea-related United Nations resolutions, which call for both tighter sanctions and efforts to resume dialog.

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Meanwhile, Marshall Billingslea, Assistant Secretary, Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, while testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has said that there are "examples that demonstrate that North Korea is using deceptive practices to mask the origin of exported coal to Russian Federation and China".

The US has pressed China to use its economic leverage to strongarm North Korea into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes Sigal Manelker, pictured at her confirmation hearing in May, said Thursday at a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building that USA would not "tolerate continued financial activity that helps the Kim [Jong Un] regime".

In a separate speech on Thursday, Moon said cooperation with the worldwide community to curb the North's nuclear ambitions was at its highest level ever and called for the strengthening of South Korea-U.S. defences to rein in the North.

"The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is related to regional peace and stability", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

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Military analysts say North Korea doesn't have the capability or intent to attack United States bombers and fighter jets, despite Ri saying it has the right do so.

President Donald Trump warned North Korea on Tuesday that any US military option against North Korea would be "devastating" for Pyongyang, but said the use of force was not Washington's first option.

Moon said Thursday that a more self-reliant military could make itself stronger and more feared by North Korea.

On Saturday, U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers escorted by fighters flew in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea in a show of force after a heated exchange of rhetoric between Trump and Kim over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. It conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, which it said was a thermonuclear weapon built for intercontinental ballistic missiles. Under orders from the People's Bank of China, major mainland banks have stopped providing most services to North Korean nationals and corporations.

Details are scant, but Chung suggested the deployment was meant to show that there wasn't "any crack" between the USA and the South Korean government amid mounting United States tensions with North Korea.

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China's agricultural exports to North Korea surge amid more sanctions