China has tightened its restrictions on goods banned for export to North Korea as part of international sanctions against Pyongyang's nuclear program.
A list of restricted goods posted late Monday on the Internet by China's commerce ministry includes potential "dual-use" products that can be used either for weapons or non-military nuclear purposes.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, told reporters Tuesday the list is not meant to punish North Korea, but rather to encourage the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Shen Ding Li, director of the Center for U.S. Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the new list is long overdue. "Why didn't China release this long list when the United Nations first sanctioned North Korea in 2006? China did so exactly, according to the UN resolution. If there is a problem, then the problem is why Beijing published the list only now, after a delay of seven years? Maybe there was a list [in 2006], but they didn’t make it public. Now Beijing has done the right thing, but the problem is... why did China do it so late?"
Beijing agreed to the latest round of sanctions earlier this year after Pyongyang conducted its third underground nuclear test in February.
News of the tightened sanctions came as U.S.-based researchers released a report concluding that North Korea now is capable of making its own nuclear equipment, instead of relying on imports.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.