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Chinese trade with North Korea jumped 10.5% in the first half of this year, according to China Customs data

  • China Customs said the country's trade with North Korea had grown 10.5 percent in the first half of the year
  • Imports from North Korea actually fell 13.2 percent to $880 million
  • Exports to North Korea, however, jumped 29 percent to $1.67 billion
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with scientists and technicians of the DPRK Academy of Defence Science after the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017
KCNA | Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with scientists and technicians of the DPRK Academy of Defence Science after the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017

China's imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent in January-to-June to $880 million, data from Chinese customs showed on Thursday.

Exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion during the period, the data showed.

China's trade with North Korea expanded by 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion in the six months.

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 Songping, a customs spokesman, said at a briefing in Beijing.

Notably, China Customs said its first-half coal and iron ore imports from North Korea were in line with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

President Donald Trump last week criticized China for its ties with North Korea's government following the launch of a test missile, saying that China's economic interests undermined its ability to challenge President Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime.

The UN and the U.S. have attempted to use sanctions for the past decade in an attempt to stem North Korea's nuclear weapons development, but the latest July 4 test, which demonstrated a significant advance in its capabilities, have forced international bodies to reconsider their response going forward.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

—CNBC's Karen Gilchrist contributed to this report.

Correction: This story was updated following Reuters' disclosure of the correct percentage by which trade increased.