WASHINGTON - China announced Saturday that it will limit exports of petroleum products to North Korea to comply with United Nations Security Council sanctions on the North's nuclear and missile development programs.
The Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website that exports of refined petroleum to Pyongyang will be limited to 2 million barrels a year effective Oct. 1. It said sales of liquefied natural gas would be banned immediately.
Petroleum exports for use in the North Korea's ballistic missile program or other activities are banned by U.N. sanctions, the statement said.
Beijing will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea immediately. Textiles have been Pyongyang's last major source of foreign revenue following repeated rounds of U.N. sanctions, under which China cut off purchases of coal, iron ore, seafood and other goods.
China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade. Such cooperation is critical for Pyongyang, and the most recent sanctions highly increase pressure on the communist country to abandon development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
Chinese leaders have long protected the North, but have expressed increasing frustration with the government of Kim Jong Un.