China says its trade with North Korea rose in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period the year before. Iron ore is among China's biggest imports from the North after it stopped buying coal this year due to the sanctions.
China suspended imports of North Korean coal in February, while imports of iron ore accord with relevant United Nations resolutions, he said.
Such purchases are permitted under the sanctions and generate no revenue for nuclear development, said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.
Tensions now are running high on the Korean Peninsula, after a year in which the North has carried out two nuclear tests and numerous ballistic missile tests despite worldwide condemnation and United Nations sanctions.
USA officials said the ship is plying the waters about 100 miles off the coast of Alaska in worldwide waters, arriving there before this week's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense test, which saw a missile launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska intercept another missile dropped from a military plane over the Pacific Ocean. "China customs have all along fully, accurately, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant Security Council resolutions". But Chinese leaders are reluctant to push Pyongyang too hard for fear Kim's government might collapse.
"Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40% in the first quarter". He complained that indicated Beijing was failing to do enough.
Imports from North Korea actually fell 13.2 percent to $880 million, it said, but exports to the pariah state jumped 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion.
Huang said month-on-month figures showed an even sharper decline. "As neighbours, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges", he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions.