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AP

On April 7, as Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met at Mar-a-Lago, Chinese bureaucrats issued an order telling traders to send North Korean coal cargoes back from where they came. Reuters says in a scoop that it has tracked a dozen cargo ships headed from China to North Korea's main west coast port of Nampo, full or mostly full. At the same time, after importing no U.S. coking coal from 2014 through 2016, China bought 400,000 metric tons by the end of February, Reuters said.

Why it matters: China is North Korea's main trading partner, and coal is North Korea's main export. By turning back the cargoes, China is sending a sharp signal of unhappiness with Kim's flaunting of his ballistic missile technology, which experts think might achieve the ability to hit the continental US within two years. The surge in US imports makes the message even clearer.

Get smarter: What the coal politics won't do is change Kim's missile policies. To get there, China and the US will have to somehow jointly reassure the skittish and youthful Kim that he will not be the victim of regime change.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

3 hours ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.