• Kyodo

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China’s imports from North Korea plunged 88.7 percent from a year earlier in the first half of 2018 against the backdrop of U.N. sanctions aimed at preventing Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development, the government said Friday.

China’s imports from North Korea totaled 690 million yuan (about $103 million) during the six months from January, data released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed. Imports fell for the 10th straight month in June on a single-month basis.

Late last year, China, North Korea’s main economic lifeline, bolstered sanctions against Pyongyang under U.N. resolutions. Beijing used to account for about 90 percent of the North’s external trade.

But relations between China and North Korea have been drastically improving recently in the wake of Pyongyang’s recently stated commitment to “complete denuclearization” on the Korean Peninsula.

China has opposed North Korea’s nuclear tests, expressing fears of possible radioactive contamination.

Given that the two countries have boosted cooperation in the economic field, their trade activities are expected to recover in the coming months, economists said.

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