China to stop imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and fish

China's government appealed to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday to avoid a "trade war" ahead of what the White House says is a possible announcement of an investigation into whether China is stealing U.S. technology.

Democrats recently have supported Trump on some trade issues.

She urged the USA to continue working with China for stable economic relations and asked it not to use the conflict in North Korea as a means to pressure Beijing in trade matters.

The softened language in Monday's order is the second time in as many weeks that Trump has agreed to changes to ease the potential backlash from China.

In one of his first actions as president, Trump in January formally withdrew the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Trump's memorandum comes as his administration also seeks cooperation with Chinese President Xi Jinping on North Korea's ongoing missile threats.

"I think China can do a lot more (about North Korea)".

The Chinese customs agency said Monday it will stop processing imports at midnight on September 5.

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China, the isolated North's main trading partner, has been reluctant to push leader Kim Jong Un's regime too hard for fear it might collapse.

Given the recent tensions on the Korean peninsula, which followed North Korea's two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, the U.S. has tried to leverage on the trade probe to put pressure on Beijing to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. Despite Beijing's support for tougher United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang, Trump appears to be getting frustrated with the lack of progress.

The North's state news agency said about 3.5 million students and workers had volunteered to fight alongside the military to defend their country from the US.

Regional tensions have soared in the past week as Trump warned North Korea it would face "fire and fury" if it attacked the United States, while the North threatened to test-fire its missiles over Japan and towards the US Pacific island of Guam.

Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, a popular trade tool in the 1980s that has been rarely used in the past decade, allows the president to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions to protect US industries from "unfair trade practices" of foreign countries.

Trump has also been critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).In April, Trump said he had been ready to pull out, but he was talked out of it.

The annual cost to the USA economy of several categories of IP theft exceeds US$225 billion (S$306 billion), according to a report this year by the IP Commission titled The Theft Of American Intellectual Property.

  • Adam Floyd