China limits oil exports, bans textile imports from North Korea
China has stepped up sanctions against North Korea by limiting oil exports and banning textile imports from the isolated regime. Beijing is Pyongyang's biggest trading partner and one of its sole sources of hard currency. China had earlier joined other UN Security Council members to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea following the latter's sixth and most powerful nuclear weapons test.
On September 12, the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to its H-bomb test. The sanctions banned North Korean textile, coal, lead, and seafood exports. UNSC members Russia and China agreed to endorse the resolution after the US backed down from its proposal to impose an oil embargo and freeze North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's assets.
The Chinese commerce ministry announced immediate restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports to North Korea. Exports of petroleum products would be limited from October 1. The North refines little petroleum of its own from crude oil imports, which haven't been included in the ban. In 2016, China imported around $1.2 billion worth of coal from Pyongyang. Beijing restricted these coal imports earlier this year.
The US had earlier called for a complete oil embargo on North Korea, which was opposed by China and Russia. The sanctions on North Korea have caused the price of petrol in Pyongyang to increase by 20% over the past two months. Textiles are North Korea's second-biggest export. The ban on textiles is expected to cost North Korea over $700 million every year.
Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the escalating war of words between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was "like when children in a kindergarten start fighting and no-one can stop them" Lavrov said this needs to stop "to calm down the hotheads." Kim had earlier labeled Trump "mentally deranged." Trump responded calling Kim a "madman."