China suspends imports of North Korean coal as part of its efforts to implement United Nations sanctions against the country. Samantha Vadas reports.
A major blow to Pyongyang's lifeline for its struggling economy. China blocking all coal imports from North Korea on Sunday (February 19) for the rest of the year. It's all in a bid to enforce harsh UN sanctions against the country aimed at starving it of funds for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Coal is the North's largest export product and the country relies heavily on China for trade. Though that's been squeezed across the border as Beijing becomes increasingly critical of Pyongyang's missile tests. Just last week North Korea said it had successfully test-fired a new type of ballistic rocket prompting calls for urgent UN talks as well as a 'constructive' response from Beijing. China doesn't want to come down on North Korea too hard and prefers diplomatic talks to sanctions, raising questions over whether the ban on coal is a way to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table.