China is suspending all imports of coal from North Korea as part of efforts to increase pressure on the country over its latest missile test, BBC News reports.
China’s commerce ministry said the ban would operate until the end of 2017.
It follows reports last week that China had rejected a shipment of North Korean coal worth $1m (£806,000; €942,100). The ban brings China, North Korea’s only ally, closer to fully implementing tough sanctions aimed at stopping Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
Coal is North Korea’s biggest export, with its shipments to China a mainstay of the country’s fragile economy.
The latest development comes just days after the suspicious killing of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother, Kim Jong-nam, at an airport in Malaysia.
Kim, who was largely estranged from his family, had spent much of his time overseas in the Chinese territory of Macau, where he was seen to have had the protection of China.