Chinese official says no link between US trade and N. Korea


BEIJING (AP) – A senior Chinese trade official says the issue of China-U.S. trade should be kept separate from that of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming’s remarks Monday followed tweets by President Donald Trump complaining that China had benefited massively from trade with the U.S. while providing no help resolving problems with North Korea.

Qian emphasized the mutual benefits of China’s trade with the U.S. and said that couldn’t be linked to issues concerning the Pyongyang regime.

China is the North’s biggest trade partner and food and fuel aid source. Chinese companies also have a virtual monopoly on investments in North Korea’s economy, particularly natural resources.

China reported trade volume rose in the first half of 2017 against the same period last year, ending a two-year decline.