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China's crude oil exports to N. Korea up 8.2 pct in March

All Headlines 10:41 April 24, 2013

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- China's exports of crude oil to North Korea rose 8.2 percent last month from a year earlier, a report said Wednesday.

China shipped 106,000 tons of crude oil to the North in March, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) said, citing data by China's customs.

The total volume of crude oil export from China to North Korea during the first three months of this year reached 159,000 tons, up 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the report said.

The news outlet confirmed previous media reports that China did not export crude oil to the North in February, which was attributed to the superpower's tightened implementation of economic sanctions on the communist country for its third nuclear test on Feb. 12.

VOA said, however, that China, the North's closest ally, had no records of crude oil exports to the North in February in 2012 and 2011.

According to China's customs, the country shipped a total of 523,000 tons of crude oil to the North in 2012, 526,000 tons in 2011 and 528,000 tons in 2010.

Besides official trade, China is believed to have ship an additional 500,000 tons every year in crude oil assistance to the North.

In a recent Congress hearing, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that about three-fourths of North Korea's crude oil needs are sourced from China.

The North is also reportedly considering crude oil imports from Iran. Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi said the two countries are currently in talks over the matter.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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