China Suspends Coal Imports From North Korea

China has suspended all imports of coal from North Korea days after a missile test. The announcement comes just days after a report revealed that China had rejected a coal shipment from North Korea. The shipment rejected by China was said to be worth around $1 million. China’s commerce ministry said on its website that the suspension will begin on February 19 and continue until the end of the year.

Coal Imports Suspended

The decision from China comes just days after North Korea tested a ballistic missile, breaking a UN ban on its nuclear program. Coal is North Korea’s biggest export and they are the fourth biggest supplier of coal for China, which had reportedly already rejected a shipment from them last week. A high percentage of the coal from North Korea goes to China and while authorities had permitted some to get to the country in recent months, all of the trade will now be suspended.

Shipment of Coal Rejected

The shipment rejected was stopped at Wenzhou port five days ago, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. The decision also comes just days after Kim Jong-un’s half brother was killed at an airport in Malaysia. Four suspects have been arrested in connection to his death.

The decision is part of an effort to begin sanctions aimed at stopping North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. China imported 12.5 percent more North Korean coal in 2016 at $1.18 billion. But the suspension starting on February 19 will leave North Korea without an important part of the country’s economy.

On Sunday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile and China voiced its opposition to the test shortly after. North Korea is banned by the UN from any tests of missiles and it was later reported that the country could face more sanctions for its missile test, which landed in the Sea of Japan.