China’s first-quarter imports from North Korea increased compared to 2016

China’s imports from North Korea in the first quarter of 2017 went up 18.4 percent compared to last year, and exports to North Korea increased 54.5 percent, according to Chinese customs on April 13.

China’s trade with North Korea totalled to 8.4 billion yuan ($1.22 billion) from January to March.

China’s trade surplus with North Korea reached 1.52 billion yuan (US$220.83 million), an increase of 3.9 times. That’s an increase of 37.4 percent.

China is making moves to comply with U.N. sanctions against  Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program.

It suspended the importing of coal from North Korea on Feb. 18.

China did not import coal from North Korea at all in March.

Coal imports from North Korea in the first quarter were half of what they were a year ago.

China ordered trading companies to return coal shipments received from North Korea after the ban was implemented, according to Reuters.

In addition to coal, China imports iron ore, zinc and other minerals from North Korea. China’s import of North Korean iron more than doubled in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2016. North Korea relies on China for oil imports. However, China state-run media has said it may place restrictions on oil exports to the North should Kim Jong Un run another nuclear test.

Meanwhile, trade between China and the United States continued to show good growth in the first quarter.

“”We believe strengthening communication will benefit to push forward a healthy development of mutual trade and investment between the two sides (U.S. and China),” said Huang Songping, China’s general administration of customs spokesman.