US President Donald Trump has been openly expressing disappointment over China's lukewarm stance in curbing its economic trade with North Korea, which reportedly grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, raising the possibility for broader secondary 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.
North Korea on Friday threatened to take "corresponding measures" if the UN Security Council adopts another sanctions resolution in response to the North's test-launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on July 4.
The special rapporteur's activities here will also include information gathering needed to compile his report to be presented to a U.N. General Assembly later in the year. However, North Korean exports increased by 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion.
The U.S. was not impressed.
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For China, the increasing numbers on its trade relations with North Korea does not necessarily mean that the country is failing to follow the resolutions imposed by the United Nations.
Trade between Beijing and Pyongyang during the past few months has not included any sanctioned content related to the provision of materials, nor has it helped to generate revenue for the DPRK's nuclear or ballistic missile programmes, Geng noted.
"I'm introducing a legislation that will create a global embargo against North Korea to shut off access to the U.S. financial systems and the systems and sources of trade that wish to continue to do business with North Korea", Gardner said in a statement. The country even suspended imports of coal back in February.
China has repeatedly said it is fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea and that there is nothing wrong with what its terms "normal" trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions. "It's high time for the United States to maximize worldwide economic pressure against Kim Jong Un's regime as well as against the many foreign banks and foreign companies that are enabling it, especially in China".