China announces ban on coal imports from North Korea over continued nuclear testing

By Benjamin Grove || Layout Assistant

Photo courtesy of atimes.com

Political decisions seem to be on the rise this winter, not only in the United States but in Asia. A new report from CNN gives the details about how China has banned all coal imports from North Korea. The tensions between China and North Korea have been growing recently in response to missile tests in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city.

The response came in an effort by China to warn North Korea to stop creating and testing nuclear weapons. In September 2016, the UN banned the country from testing their nuclear warheads. When North Korea tested their warhead anyway, China drafted a resolution to create sanctions against North Korea, in hopes of getting a positive response out of the country. However, it has seemed to do the opposite, as North Korea has continued to test their weapons in the capital city. That moment made China’s government question the tie between themselves and North Korea’s government.

In 2014, CNN reports, 86% of North Korea’s coal exports were to China. This statistic amounts to $1.03B USD, and without the export of coal, North Korea’s economy could experience a significant decrease in revenue.

However, according to a North Korean economist, Ri Gi Song, the ban on exporting coal to China will hardly make a dent in North Korea’s economy. He believes that the country’s other major exports, magnesite and graphite–materials used in the production of smartphones–will sustain it.

Although the United Nations and China have both tried to intervene before North Korea acts to test its weapons, the United States is also putting its hand in the situation. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi last Friday at a conference in Germany to urge China to use their power to “to moderate North Korea’s destabilizing behavior.”

While the Chinese government disapproves of North Korea’s nuclear testing, it does not necessarily disagree with anything else about North Korea’s government or Kim Jong-un’s regime.

The ban has caused growing tension between the two countries. North Korea’s state-run news station KCNA reported that a neighboring country, which could almost certainly be named as China, is working with North Korea’s enemies to destroy their “social system.”

As tension between North Korea and numerous countries continues to rise, the UN, and now China, will seemingly do whatever it takes to encourage North Korea to quit its nuclear development and testing.

First-year Benjamin Grove is a Layout Assistant. His email is bgrove@fandm.edu.

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