40% of Americans View N. Korea as Greatest Threat to US Security

Chung Sung-Jun  Getty Images

Chung Sung-Jun Getty Images

China, the world's largest coal buyer, imported 21.6 million tonnes of coal in June, down from a month ago, preliminary customs data showed on Thursday.

China has slashed imports of coal from North Korea even as overall trade between the countries continues to rise.

Last week U.S. President Donald Trump denounced China's trade with North Korea, saying it had grown nearly 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.

After Trump publicly pressed Beijing to rein in economic support for the rogue regime, trade between China and North Korea grew more than 37 percent in the first quarter, a statistic available in April but which Trump didn't publicly acknowledge until last week.

China announced in February the suspension of coal imports from the North, striking a blow at a major source of income for the hermit state. He called out the "nearly 40%" increase in trade in the first three months of the year on Twitter last week.

But he said numbers showing an increase are not evidence that China is failing to enforce United Nations resolutions, with imports from North Korea falling every month since March.

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"My bipartisan legislation gives those that now conduct trade with North Korea a clear choice - either do business with this heinous outlaw regime or do business with the world's leading economic and military power", he added.

China insists none of its current trade with Pyongyang is in violation of worldwide sanctions. "However, it is inviting its ultimate doom by resorting to the sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK", it also said.

"Trade related to the people's livelihood in the North Korea, especially those that embody humanitarian principles, should not be affected by sanctions".

"It is time for the U.S.to renew its perspective on the DPRK's strategic position which has reached dazzling heights".

"The new figures that the customs bureau have put out today suggest [they] have made an effort, at least on paper", he added.

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