BEIJING: China’s total trade with North Korea has risen despite Beijing’s promise to enforce U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, but Chinese purchases of North Korean goods have fallen sharply. Customs data show total Chinese-North Korean trade in the first five months of this year rose 15 percent from a year earlier. That is less than the 36.8 percent figure earlier reported by the Chinese Customs agency and cited by U.S. President Donald Trump.
China buys North Korean coal, a revenue source for the isolated North. But a South Korean industry group, the Korea International Trade Association, says those purchases are off 45 percent this year. The trade growth is driven by rising Chinese exports to the North, while China’s imports have fallen, leaving Pyongyang with a widening trade deficit.