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North Korea Trade with China Rises Despite Sanctions

European Union member states agreed Monday to consider imposing new sanctions on North Korea after it tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.Trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the US and Japan has been key in efforts to get the North to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. Both Moscow and Beijing are hostile to any attempt by the United States to precipitate an economic and political crisis on their doorstep that Washington could exploit to orchestrate a regime-change in Pyongyang.In New York, a Japanese government spokesman told United Nations reporters that now is a time to raise pressure on North Korea, not hold dialogue, according to news reports. He also said, “we need to see what sanctions are most successful”.The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the US Justice Department had already initiated a federal court case that was partly unsealed last week, targeting “offshore US dollar accounts” associated with a network of five companies linked to the Chinese citizen Chi Yupeng. He called out the “nearly 40%” increase in trade in the first three months of the year on Twitter last week.If realised, they would be the first in two years.The growth bilateral trade “should not be used as basis for questioning China’s solemn attitude towards the implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions”, Huang Songping, a spokesman for Chinese Customs, told reporters in Beijing. He said Chinese imports from the North fell 36.5 percent in March, 41.6 percent in April and 31.6 percent in May.Despite rounds of global sanctions on Pyongyang, North Korea’s trade deficit with China has risen to its highest level.The Pentagon, as it’s always wont to do, intended for the drills to be a show of force in deterring what they believe to be Pyongyang’s aggression, though North Korea understandably interpreted this as an unprecedented escalation of the crisis meant to intimidate it into concessions.The US is in the process of completing a THAAD battery deployment in South Korea, supposedly aimed against North Korea.