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China imports from N. Korea plunge in Dec.

Reuters BEIJING (Reuters) — China’s imports from North Korea plunged in December to the lowest level in dollar terms since at least the start of 2014, with trade curbed by U.N. sanctions aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent year-on-year to $54.34 million, Huang Songping, Chinese customs spokesman, said in a briefing in Beijing on Friday. That’s the smallest monthly value since at least January 2014.

Chinese customs will formally release data for trade with North Korea in the second half of the month, along with a breakdown by product.

The United Nations began imposing sanctions on North Korea in 2006, but tougher measures were invoked in 2017 as tensions flared anew over the country’s nuclear and missile programs.

The penalties that came into force on Sept. 5 last year banned countries from buying coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood from North Korea.

In November, China imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea, the second full month of the U.N. trade sanctions.

China, the main source of North Korea’s fuel, also did not export any gasoline, jet fuel, diesel or fuel oil to its neighbor.

China’s exports to North Korea in December declined 23.4 percent from a year earlier to $260 million, Huang told reporters.

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