The coal loophole: doubts on China's will to enforce North Korea sanctions

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By Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - Over two weeks after the United Nations slapped harsh new sanctions on North Korea, several Chinese shipping and trade sources say they have not been told of any curbs on the import of coal from the isolated nation - a lifeline for its struggling economy. China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea's trade and its help is crucial in enforcing the sanctions announced by the United Nations on March 2 to punish Pyongyang for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Coal is particularly important to the economic health of North Korea because it is one of its only sources of hard currency and its largest single export item.