China set to limit oil supply to North Korea, ban textile imports
Iran Press TV
Sat Sep 23, 2017 07:55AM
China says it will limit oil supplies to North Korea under the tough sanctions adopted by the United Nations to step up pressure against Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce made the announcement in a statement on its website on Saturday, saying Beijing will restrict exports of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels per year from October 1, and that the sales of condensates and liquefied natural gas will be banned outright.
The ministry also noted that China would immediately ban textile imports from North Korea.
Last week, China's major banks suspended financial transactions for North Korean clients after the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang over its latest nuclear test.
Beijing, Pyongyang's main ally, has long been accused of lax enforcement of the sanctions against North Korea. This is while, according to a 2013 Security Council resolution, member states must restrict financial transactions that could fund Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
Since February, China has halted North Korean coal imports, banned new investments and stopped importing iron, seafood and lead from its neighbor.
However, the UN's punitive measures have so far failed to stop the North's nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang says it needs to continue and develop its military program as a deterrent in the face of hostile policies by the United States and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.
The North conducted its sixth and biggest nuclear test on September 3. The hydrogen bomb was about three times more powerful than America's atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
North Korea has said it is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean in response to Washington stepping up economic sanctions against the country.
"It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said, as quoted by South Korean agency Yonhap.
US President Donald Trump has warned that Washington would "destroy" Pyongyang with its own sanctions. The warning was met with strong reaction from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who called the US President "mentally deranged" and said he would "pay dearly" for his threats to "totally destroy" North Korea
US nuclear carrier joins drills with Japan
On Friday, Japan's Defense Ministry said the US Navy carrier Ronald Reagan was conducting drills with Japanese warships in seas south of the Korean Peninsula, in a show of force amid tensions with North Korea.
The statement said the exercises began on September 11 and was scheduled to wrap up on September 28. The war games involve the 100,000-ton USS Ronald Reagan and three Japanese warships, including two destroyers as well as one of the country's two biggest helicopter carriers, the Ise.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said early last week that its military was set to stage a joint drill with the US navy in October.
Pyongyang has warned the US that ground and bombing drills by the two allies could spark a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.
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