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China's trade with North Korea plunges as sanctions tighten

AP  |  Beijing 

China's trade with North plunged 50 per cent in December as UN sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development tightened, the reported today.

accounts for nearly all of the isolated North's trade and

has imposed limits on sales and cut deeply into the North's foreign by ordering North Korean businesses in to close, sending home migrant workers and banning purchases of its coal, textiles, seafood and other

from the North shrank 81.6 per cent to USD 54 million in December while to the isolated, impoverished country contracted 23.4 per cent to USD 260 million, said a for the Chinese customs agency,

The has steadily tightened trade restrictions as leader Un's pressed ahead with nuclear and missile development in defiance of foreign pressure.

was long Pyongyang's diplomatic protector but has supported the UN sanctions out of frustration with what Chinese leaders see as their neighbor's increasingly reckless behavior.

Despite the loss of almost all trade, the impoverished North has pressed ahead with weapons development that Kim's regime sees as necessary for its survival in the face of US pressure.

has steadily increased economic pressure on while calling for dialogue to defuse the increasingly acrimonious dispute with US President Donald Trump's

Analysts see North Korea's need for Chinese as the most powerful economic leverage against But Chinese leaders have warned against taking drastic measures that might destabilize or send a wave of refugees fleeing into China.

Chinese leaders have resisted previous US demands for an outright embargo but went along with the latest limits.

Under restrictions announced January 5, Chinese companies are allowed to export no more than 4 million barrels of oil and 500,000 barrels of to the North per year. They are barred from supplying its military or weapons programs.

Chinese officials complain their country bears the cost of enforcement, which they say has hurt businesses in its northeast.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 18:10 IST