FILE - In this May 8, 2016, file photo, a North Korean solder stands guard near barrels stacked up near the river bank of the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong. China announced Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 it will limit oil supplies to North Korea under U.N. sanctions starting Oct. 1, 2017, stepping up pressure on Pyongyang over its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology. (Chinatopix via AP, File)

China imposes limit on oil supply to North Korea

September 22, 2017 - 11:20 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China announced Saturday that it will limit oil exports to North Korea under U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile development, further reducing support from Pyongyang's last major trading partner, energy supplier and diplomatic ally.

Exports of refined petroleum to the North will be limited to 2 million barrels per year and sales of liquefied natural gas banned outright, effective Jan. 1, the Commerce Ministry said. The current size of Chinese energy supplies to the North and how much that would be reduced were unclear.

China also will ban textile imports from the North, the ministry said. Textiles are one of the North's last major sources of foreign revenue following repeated rounds of U.N. sanctions under which Beijing cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods.

China accounts for some 90 percent of the North's trade, making its cooperation critical to any efforts to derail Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Chinese leaders were long the North's diplomatic protectors but express increasing frustration with the government of Kim Jong Un. They have supported the latest rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions but are reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard for fear the government might collapse. They also argue against doing anything that might hurt ordinary North Koreans.

Petroleum exports for use in the North's ballistic missile program or other activities are banned by U.N. sanctions, the Commerce Ministry said.

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