China announced that a ban on North Korean imports such as iron, iron ore and seafood would come into the effect on Tuesday, 15 August, upholding the recently imposed sanctions by the UN Security Council. The punitive economic sanctions are meant to hit the impoverished country hard, and are in response to Pyongyang's aggressive nuclear and missile activities.
On 5 August, the top UN body had proposed a list of expanded sanctions on North Korea targeting the hermit kingdom's key revenue-generating trade, which include seafood, coal, iron ore, iron, lead and lead ore. It was agreed that the countries would implement the harsh measures within 30 days of the UN's approval of the US-drafted resolution.
Beijing's commerce ministry issued a statement on Monday, 14 August, saying that the import of iron, iron ore and seafood would be "completely prohibited" from North Korea from the next day. China remains a key diplomatic ally and major economic partner for North Korea.
Pyongyang's other streams of revenue such as banks and private firms have also come under scrutiny in the latest blacklisting. Although China was initially reluctant, arguing more forceful posture would only frustrate the North further, it has now agreed to implement the sanctions to full effect from Tuesday.
"Who is executing each resolution regarding North Korea by the UNSC? It is, in fact, China who is executing them. Who is taking on the relevant costs? It is China who is taking on those costs," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters earlier adding that China "will for sure implement that new resolution 100 per cent, fully and strictly".
China's latest crackdown, which is bound to infuriate Pyongyang since the country is already under intense financial pressure, comes shortly after the North has summoned all its ambassadors to key nations for a meeting in their home country. The list includes North Korea envoys to Russia, China and the United Nations.