China has levied a number of trade sanctions against neighboring North Korea in the wake of the pariah state's recent missile tests. Beijing said the measures would be enforced "conscientiously."
China on Tuesday banned imports of gold and rare earths from North Korea, with the mining sector being a key part of the belligerent nation's ailing economy. Mining activities there had already been largely cut off from the rest of the world as experts said revenues from the sector supported North Korea's military spending.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce also announced it would ban coal shipments from the country, although it left room for exceptions. It indicated sanctions would be softened under certain circumstances, should it be clear that revenue from given shipments would entirely be used for civilian purposes.
Last year, North Korea delivered around 20 million tons of coal to China, marking a 27-percent increase on the year and overtaking Russia and Mongolia to become China's third-biggest supplier.
Nuclear program in the crosshairs
China said it would also ban exports of jet fuel and other oil products that could be used to make rocket fuel in a move in line with United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.
It was not the first time that China has made clear its disapproval of North Korea's nuclear program - even though Beijing has supplied large quantities of aid to Pyongyang off the books for years.
Independent experts had frequently questioned Beijing's resolve to impose sanctions against North Korea. But China said Tuesday it would enforce the measures "conscientiously."
hg/cjc (Reuters, dpa)