The two commodities are among North Korea's principal export items and according to a livelihood exception in current United Nations sanctions, Pyongyang is allowed to continue exporting coal to China. North Korea is Beijing's biggest supplier of anthracite coal, used for power generation.
But global powers are widely believed to adopt a more aggressive attitude towards Kim Jong-un's regime and may curtail exports.
"Washington and others will seek to close that livelihood exception and may even try to manipulate markets to make this coal expensive for Chinese importers," Eurasia stated.
"If the livelihood exception in the current United Nations Security Council resolution is closed or various actors seek to artificially increase the prices of North Korean exports, the supply of iron ore or coal to China could dip further."
Joshua Stanton, a Washington attorney and advisor to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, has suggested Pyongyang to continue exporting resources only if it buys aid or food in return.
"Don't close it [the livelihood loophole] completely; sanctions need safety valves in case of unintended humanitarian impacts," he said in Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) blog post Wednesday.
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