Following its ban on imports of North Korean coal in February, China issued another order to include iron ore, iron and lead on the list, effective Aug. 15, The Washington Post reported, citing the country's Ministry of Commerce.
The move reflects China's compliance with sanctions recently imposed by the U.N. Security Council following U.S. accusations that the country is not doing enough to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
China perceived the move as an attempt to blame it for the world's failure to control Pyongyang's missile threats.
"It is obviously improper to use one thing as a tool to imposing pressure on another thing," the report quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying in a news conference.
North Korea is known to heavily rely on China for its economic survival. In the first half of 2017, its total exports to China went down 13% year over year to $880 million. Coal exports took a sharp decline of 75% from a year earlier, to just 2.7 million tons during the first half of the year, the report said.
Despite this, overall trade between them remained healthy, growing 10% year over year during the first six months.