China punishes North Korea with increased inspections
Freight handlers and trading companies near the North Korean border are complaining of surprise inspections that are increasing the costs of doing business. Targeted products include luxury goods, daily necessities and machinery, Associated Press reports.
"Some business orders we don't dare take," an executive with Dalian Fast International Logistics Co., said, according to Associated Press. "We don't dare do that business because we fear that after the orders are taken, we will end up unable to ship them."
The attempts to reduce but not cut off trade with North Korea follow increased pressure on Beijing to enforce new U.N. sanctions passed after February's nuclear test. The sanctions targeted the bank financing and smuggling of cash that could assist North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
U.S. officials visiting Beijing on Friday said they were encouraged by Chinese resolve related to the sanctions.
"There's reason to believe the Chinese are looking at the threat in a real way," U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen, said, according to Associated Press.
Analysts said Beijing is taking real action to try to rein in the nuclear ambitions of Pyongyang.
According to the International Trade Center, China is one of North Korea's top trade partners, providing almost all of North Korea's fuel and more than 83 percent of its imports in 2011, Associated Press reports.