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N. Korea omitted from China's 5-year economic plans: document

All News 09:52 March 07, 2016

BEIJING, March 7 (Yonhap) -- Economic cooperation projects between North Korea and China were omitted from China's five-year economic plans, a document by Beijing's top economic planner showed Monday, an indication that may represent China's displeasure over Pyongyang's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The document was presented by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, on Saturday.

According to the document reviewed by Yonhap News Agency, there was no mention of North Korea in China's five-year economic projects with foreign countries.

With regard to economic projects in China's northeastern provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, the document proposed business projects with Russia, South Korea, Japan, Germany and Israel, but it stopped short of mentioning North Korea.

Last week, the United Nations adopted a raft of tougher sanctions against North Korea following the North's fourth nuclear test and rocket launch this year. The new U.N. sanctions came as a result of an agreement between the U.S. and China, North Korea's economic lifeline.

The Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin, which border North Korea, have also scaled back their economic cooperation projects with the North, according to their documents published in January.

A diplomatic source in Beijing said the moves by the Chinese provinces were likely to be reflected by the Chinese central government's decision to join the new U.N. sanctions.

Winning China's cooperation is key to ensuring the effectiveness of U.N. sanctions against North Korea because China accounts for nearly 90 percent of the North's foreign trade.

Still, China is unlikely to vigorously implement sanctions on North Korea because a sudden collapse of the regime could spark a refugee crisis at its border and lead to a pro-U.S., democratic Korea on its doorstep, analysts say.

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