Bottom line up front: China is North Korea’s most important trading partner and ally. Without Chinese pressure, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would never have a reason to even consider halting his nuclear and missile programs. It’s also worth noting that China may not actually follow through with all of its promised sanctions, since Beijing has no deep-seated interest in toppling the Kim regime. But the Chinese may have decided that lucrative trade with the U.S. is more desireable and important to its own long-term stability. — JED

China announced a ban on imports of iron ore, iron, lead and coal from North Korea on Monday, increasing economic pressure on the Pyongyang regime while moving to implement a package of sanctions put together by the U.N. Security Council.

The ban will take effect from Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce announced, although China will continue to clear goods that have already arrived in port until Sept. 5.

But at the same time, Beijing warned the Trump administration not to split the international coalition over North Korea by provoking a trade war between China and the United States.

President Trump is expected to sign an executive memorandum Monday afternoon instructing his top trade negotiator to launch an investigation into Chinese intellectual property violations, a move that could eventually result in severe trade penalties.

In China, these proposed measures were seen as an attempt to pressure Beijing to act more strongly against North Korea and, at the same time, as an effort to shift the blame for the world’s failure to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs onto China alone.

Source: Washington Post