China Sanctions North Korean Coal. Coming Around to Trump's Point of View?
It looks as though China is taking president Donald Trump’s advice by taking a tougher stance on North Korea.
China ordered North Korean cargo ships carrying coal to return home, reported Reuters Monday evening.
“China suspended all imports of coal from North Korea on Feb. 26 to abide with a United Nations Security Council resolution meant to punish the country and its authoritarian leader, Kim Jong Un, for testing nuclear weapons and launching ballistic missiles. The resolution, passed in December, prohibits member states from importing more than $400 million of North Korean coal in 2017, an amount set so as to not have “adverse humanitarian consequences for the country’s civilian population,” writes The Huffington Post.
China has significant buying-power over North Korea and purchases the most coal from the country. But, starting Feb. 26, China decided to ban all imports from North Korea.
Then on April 7, China’s customs department issued an order directing trading companies to reject North Korean coal cargoes.
“A source at Dandong Chengtai, one of China’s biggest buyers of North Korean coal, said the company had 600,000 tonnes of North Korean coal sitting at various ports, and a total of 2 million tonnes was stranded at Chinese ports,” writes Reuters. “Eikon data shows that most of these ships have recently left Chinese coal ports, including Weihai and Peng Lai, returning to North Korea full or mostly filled with cargo.”
The order was introduced immediately following Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on April 7.
“The two leaders had positive productive meetings,” said Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State following the summit. “Both the atmosphere and the chemistry between the two leaders was positive.”
The meeting was deemed a success on both sides.
“President Trump made excellent preparations for our country’s representatives and gave us a warm reception,” said Xi after his meeting with the U.S. president. “We recently have had in-depth and lengthy communications to this end and arrived at many common understandings, the most important being deepening our friendship and building a kind of trust in keeping with the Sino-US working relationship and friendship.”
Trump shared some of the meeting details and promised China better trade deals in exchange for their assistance in punishing North Korea.
“I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!” tweeted Trump Tuesday morning. “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.”
So where will China be getting more coal from now? The U.S.
“To make up for the shortfall from North Korea, China has ramped up imports from the United States in an unexpected boon for U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declared he wants to revive his country’s struggling coal sector,” writes Reuters. “Eikon data shows no U.S. coking coal was exported to China between late 2014 and 2016, but shipments soared to over 400,000 tonnes by late February.”
Besides getting China involved, Trump made another move.
“Over the weekend, the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and its accompanying battle group were directed to sail to waters off the coast of the Korean peninsula, widely considered a response to North Korea’s outburst of saber-rattling, most recently with a missile launch earlier this month,” writes Politico. “In response to the Carl Vinson’s deployment off its shores, a spokesman for North Korea’s foreign ministry said, “We will hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions” and added that “this goes to prove that the U.S. reckless moves for invading the DPRK have reached a serious phase of its scenario.”
Author’s note: It looks like Trump is accomplishing two goals with his recent meeting with China. The first being that he is striking North Korea where it hurts and two, he is creating more revenue for the U.S. coal industry.
Editor’s note: Note the timing on this. And if you have a chance, read about the Crazy Bastard strategy here. It’s working.