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March 25, 2017 18:34

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08:08 16 March 2017

N. Korea's coal exports reach 35% of annual cap in 1st 2 months: U.N.

NEW YORK, March 15, Kyodo

North Korea's coal exports in February came to 1.23 million tons, with the figure in combination with January's total already accounting for more than 35 percent of the annual cap, according to data from the U.N. Security Council committee overseeing sanctions on the country.

It shipped 1.44 million tons in January, accounting for 19 percent of its cap.

China's Commerce Ministry earlier announced it would suspend all coal imports from North Korea. Coal is Pyongyang's biggest export, with China the main buyer.

The Chinese step took effect Feb. 19 and is set to remain in place for at least the rest of the year as part of efforts to implement a new sanctions resolution adopted by the Security Council on Nov. 30 following the country's fifth underground nuclear test last September.

The harshest round of sanctions yet was aimed at hitting North Korea's economy, especially its coal industry by putting a ceiling on the amount China can import.

The resolution set an upper limit on the North's coal exports at $400.9 million, or 7.5 million tons per year, whichever is lower, starting on Jan. 1. The measure is expected to cut the country's hard currency revenues by at least $700 million annually.

==Kyodo

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