North Korean ships are reportedly heading back home from China still full of one of the few products the country has that other countries want — coal.
According to Reuters, sanctions China implemented in February have gone into effect, stopping North Korea from selling its most precious export to its biggest trading partner.
This is a proverbial walk of shame for North Korea.
“A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country,” Reuters reported.
The ban on North Korean exports came after North Korea was found to be practicing long-range missile tests and continued to do so even after being warned. On Feb. 26, China banned all imports of North Korean coal, according to The New York Times. On Friday, China’s customs officials ordered the country’s traders to return all North Korean coal cargoes to their ships, Reuters reported.
This news comes after United States President Donald Trump’s successful two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Trump reportedly pressured Xi to crack down on North Korea, according to Newsmax. On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State and Rex Tillerson told “Face the Nation” that China had begun to understand that the situation with North Korea “has intensified and has reached a certain level of threat that action has to be taken.”
Besides further isolating the already isolated regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, China’s ban on North Korean coal has another upside for the United States. It appears that the ban, which is expected to last until the end of the year, has increased China’s trading with the U.S.
“To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country’s struggling coal sector,” Reuters reported, citing its trading analysis software Eikon.
“Eikon data shows no U.S. coking coal was exported to China between late 2014 and 2016, but shipments soared to over 400,000 tonnes by late February,” Reuters reported.
That’s one way to kill two birds with one stone.
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