May 9 (UPI) -- China is looking into shutting down a major bridge that connects the Chinese city of Dandong to North Korea.
A Chinese diplomatic source who spoke to Radio Free Asia anonymously said the symbolic Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge that spans the Yalu River might be closed as part of sanctions.
"As China becomes more guarded in its North Korea policy, there is speculation the steel rail bridge will be temporarily shut down," the source said.
A second Chinese diplomatic source said a review of the bridge closure is ongoing, following expanded financial and trade sanctions.
"It is both a warning to North Korea against possible nuclear testing and a response that comes after North Korea mobilized its state media to denounce China," the source said.
The bridge is one of the few visible symbols of China-North Korea exchange. Trucks and trains that cross the bridge account for about half of trade between the two countries, according to Yonhap.
China has adopted a comprehensive inspection system for all cargo headed to North Korea.
If the bridge is closed, the measure could significantly hurt the North Korean economy, according to RFA.
A source in Dandong said Chinese authorities are also pressuring North Korea to reduce the number of trade personnel in the country.
China's toughening approach to North Korea, however, has been balanced by invitations to Pyongyang to participate more in its economic projects.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that China invited 28 countries, including North Korea, to an economic development conference in Beijing, scheduled to take place Sunday and Monday.
The Belt and Road initiative is China's plan to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure that links Asia, Europe and Africa.
Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the North Koreans plan to send an official delegation.