China seized 70 kg of a strategic missile-making metal bound for North Korea, South Korean media reported on Wednesday, quoting a local Chinese newspaper.
The seizure took place on Friday at Dandong on the Chinese border with North Korea. While inspecting North Korean-bound trucks, a Dandong customs agent discovered the metal vanadium hidden under a fake fruit box, the Dandong News reported.
In all, 68 bottles were seized totalling 70 kg of vanadium, valued at 200,000 yuan ($29,280).
Vanadium is used to sharpen steel and prevent rust in making missile cases or naval ships.
The seizure is part of China's own trade practice to restrict the export of strategic metals like vanadium and to protect its domestic industry.
The action was interpreted as a sign from China in support of US- led sanctions, which were mounted to curtail North Korea's arms trafficking in response to its May 25 nuclear test.
The tightened sanctions are considered relatively ineffective without Chinese participation. China is a major source of trade cash, energy and food for North Korea.
The action comes amid a UN-led call on China to tighten control of trafficking into North Korea to implement the tightened sanctions.