China's trade with North Korea dropped sharply in 2017

Huileng Tan
KCNA | Reuters. China on Friday reported a sharp drop in trade with North Korea in 2017.

China on Friday reported a sharp drop in trade with North Korea in 2017.The overall trade between the two countries for the year fell 10.5 percent compared to 2016, Huang Songping, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs, said on Friday at a press briefing.For the month of December, the change was even more dramatic: Overall trade for that month fell 50.6 percent from the same period in 2016.In December, China's imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent from a year ago to $54.34 million, marking their lowest level in four years, according to Reuters records. Chinese exports to the reclusive nation fell 23.4 percent to $260 million in the same period.Friday's trade data reflects cooling ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.As North Korea's biggest trading partner and main source of aid, China holds influence over the pariah state. But bilateral ties, which date back to the Korean War, have weakened since North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006 and Beijing has since joined the international community in supporting UN sanctions.Recently, under heavy pressure from Washington

, the world's second-largest economy has been increasingly clamping down on its historical ally. Beijing has

banned domestic lenders from doing business

with North Korean clients in addition to halting certain exports in compliance with international sanctions

—CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this article.

China on Friday reported a sharp drop in trade with North Korea in 2017.

The overall trade between the two countries for the year fell 10.5 percent compared to 2016, Huang Songping, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs, said on Friday at a press briefing.

For the month of December, the change was even more dramatic: Overall trade for that month fell 50.6 percent from the same period in 2016.

In December, China's imports from North Korea slumped 81.6 percent from a year ago to $54.34 million, marking their lowest level in four years, according to Reuters records. Chinese exports to the reclusive nation fell 23.4 percent to $260 million in the same period.

Friday's trade data reflects cooling ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.

As North Korea's biggest trading partner and main source of aid, China holds influence over the pariah state. But bilateral ties, which date back to the Korean War, have weakened since North Korea began testing nuclear weapons in 2006 and Beijing has since joined the international community in supporting UN sanctions.

Recently, under heavy pressure from Washington

, the world's second-largest economy has been increasingly clamping down on its historical ally. Beijing has

banned domestic lenders from doing business

with North Korean clients in addition to halting certain exports in compliance with international sanctions

—CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this article.



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