North Korea downplays impact of China coal ban

North Korea downplays impact of China coal banA North Korean state economic official sought Tuesday to play down the impact of China’s shock announcement that it was suspending coal imports from the country for the rest of the year. The move, which came shortly after another missile launch by Pyongyang and the assassination of its leader’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur, would go much further than the latest UN sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear and missile programmes. China is the North’s sole major ally and by far its biggest trading partner, with coal the biggest component of its purchases -– according to figures from Chinese Customs it imported more than 22 million tonnes last year, worth nearly $1.2 billion.

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February 23, 2017 9:41 am

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