BEIJING (Reuters) - China's trade with isolated and nuclear-armed North Korea rose more than 10 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier, an official said on Thursday, amid pressure from the United States for Beijing to do more to rein in its erstwhile ally.
Last week U.S. President Donald Trump denounced China's trade with North Korea, saying it had grown almost 40 percent in the first quarter, and cast doubt on whether Beijing was helping to counter the threat from North Korea.
China has repeatedly said it is fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea and that there is nothing wrong with what its terms "normal" trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions.
Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping told a briefing on China's overall trade figures that total trade with North Korea expanded by 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion in the first six months of the year.
While China's imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent in January-to-June to $880 million, exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion during the period, he said.
The exports were largely driven by textile products and other traditional labor-intensive goods that are not included on the United Nations embargo list, Huang added.
But he said numbers showing an increase are not evidence that China is failing to enforce U.N. resolutions, with imports from North Korea falling every month since March.
(Reporting by Cheng Fang and Ryan Woo; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sam Holmes)