BEIJING, Aug 23 (Reuters) - China's iron ore imports from North Korea fell almost a quarter in July from a year earlier, according to data released on Wednesday for the month before the United Nations passed a vote to impose tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.
Imports of iron ore from North Korea fell 24.5 percent in July from the same month a year earlier to 175,980 tonnes, according to the General Administration of Customs.
That's down 21 percent from June and the lowest since February, according to customs' records.
Beijing had pressed traders to stop buying from the country even before the United Nations Security Council vote on further sanctions to rein in Pyongyang's missile and nuclear programme, a sign of China tightening the screws on Pyongyang.
Earlier this month the United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea targeting its exports of coal, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood. The sanctions will take effect in early September.
In July, China bought no coal from North Korea, the fifth month after Beijing halted coal shipments in February.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Muyu Xu; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)