It appears the US missile attack in Syria has gotten China’s attention concerning the North Korea threat. Reuters reported a fleet of North Korean cargo ships filled with over 2 million tons of coal is returning to their home port of Nampo after China refused the shipments. This move shows China is suddenly committed to banning imports of North Korean coal as punishment for the recent illegal missile tests. Coal is the crucial export product of North Korea, especially the deliveries of the type used for steel making – coking coal. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, Chinese customs ordered companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes starting from April 7, according to Reuters sources.
To make up for the shortfall in coal imports, China resumed buying American coal this year under a deal with the Trump administration. According to trade data, China bought over 400,000 tons from America by late February. The US did not export coking coal to China between late 2014 and 2016, but after President Trump pledged to revive the country’s coal sector, Chinese exports started to pick up.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that following the missile strike against Syria, North Korea could be next. Beijing and Washington have reportedly agreed to impose tougher sanctions against Pyongyang if it carries out nuclear or long-range missile tests.
Now as the United States Navy attack group Carl Vinson heads to the Korean peninsula, China is moving 150,000 army troops to the North Korean border. While most of the world is thinking this spells potential war between America and China, it could also mean they’ve made a secret deal to get rid of Kim Jong-Un.
After his recent summit with China’s leader, President Trump tweeted that a trade deal between China and the US depends on how Beijing tackles the North Korean problem.
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem! North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them!” Trump posted.
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)