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China announces new sanctions on North Korea

North Korean mineral exports are to be banned, Beijing said.

By Elizabeth Shim
China announces new sanctions on North Korea
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2016. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

BEIJING, April 5 (UPI) -- China announced it's implementing new sanctions on North Korea that could hit Pyongyang's vital trade in coal exports.

Beijing's ministry of commerce announced Tuesday a list of banned North Korean imports and exports, including coal, iron, iron ore, gold, titanium and rare earth elements, Yonhap reported.

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This is the first official Chinese announcement of unilateral sanctions on North Korea. It follows the United Nations Security Council sanctions resolution passed on March 2, 2016.

Last week in Washington, D.C., Chinese President Xi Jinping said China and the United States have a "responsibility to work together," The Independent reported.

The statement was made at the biennial Nuclear Security Summit, where Xi met with President Barack Obama. Obama said both Washington and Beijing are "committed to the [denuclearization] of the Korean peninsula."

Some exceptions to the sanctions have been made for coal, iron and iron ore exports that are for Chinese civilian use, and for goods from a third country that pass through North Korea in transit.

Any Chinese goods that could go toward North Korea's missile or nuclear program have been banned, along with the sale of jet fuel, which could prevent North Korea's Air Koryo from flying.

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Mineral exports are a key component of the North Korean economy. In 2015, Pyongyang's coal exports took a hit when China cracked down on coal as a source of fuel to combat pollution.

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