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The coal loophole in sanctions on N Korea

Exports of the commodity continue to enter China despite ban, providing a lifeline to the North Korean economy

Beijing

MORE than two weeks after the United Nations slapped harsh new sanctions on North Korea, several Chinese shipping and trade sources say they have not been told of any curbs on the import of coal from the isolated nation - a lifeline for its struggling economy.

China accounts for about 90 per cent of North Korea's trade and its help is crucial in enforcing the sanctions announced by the UN on March 2 to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

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