North Korea may have more bomb fuel than thought: USA think tank


China insisted Thursday it was upholding UN sanctions on North Korea despite a jump in its trade with the nuclear-armed nation that comes amid growing U.S. calls for Beijing to rein in its neighbour.

The sanctions being prepared would leave larger Chinese banks unaffected but would deny smaller firms that do business with North Korea access to US markets.

"With its latest successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, North Korea has demonstrated intent and capability to hit the United States homeland - and as President Trump said, we must never allow this to happen", said Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity.

"Something has to be done", this is the response of U.S. President Donald Trump as he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping days after the North Korean missile test took place. The United States slapped an initial round of sanctions on Chinese firms who help prop up Pyongyang in late June - a departure from a traditionally cautious approach to ratcheting up pressure on North Korea's main source of support.

Two-way trade between China and North Korea rose 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion in the first half of 2017, according to data released by the Chinese government on Thursday.

"I'm introducing a legislation that will create a global embargo against North Korea to shut off access to the U.S. financial systems and the systems and sources of trade that wish to continue to do business with North Korea", Gardner said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump has been openly expressing disappointment over China's lukewarm stance in curbing its economic trade with North Korea, which reportedly grew nearly 40 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, raising the possibility for broader secondary sanctions.

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The report linked Iran and North Korea, claiming that both states were moving toward producing the Fadj-5 Aero CRBM and KN-SS-X-9, respectively.

Experts at 38 North estimated in April that North Korea could have as many as 20 nuclear bombs and could produce one more each month. Those imports all came before February 18, an illustration of how China has enforced sanctions, Huang said.

"Should the UN Security Council adopt another 'resolution on sanctions, ' this will trigger corresponding measures", KCNA cited the official as saying.

At the same time, iron ore imports have surged between January and May to $74.4 million compared to $24 million over the same period a year ago.

China does not want a flood of millions of hungry refugees coming over its northeast border if the Pyongyang regime collapses, and it certainly does not want the 28,000 US troops now stationed in South Korea to be able to move all the way up the peninsula.

"They'd have to show they're really serious", the second official said.

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen.