China’s trade provides impetus to North Korea’s hard-hit economy

North Korea’s trade with China is reviving, easing pressure on Kim Jong Un, whose economy has been hit by sanctions and border blockades due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to data analyzed by NK Pro, at least 52 ships seeming to be connected to Pyongyang were active in the waters around North Korea and China in April and May, which is higher than the single digits observed in a few weeks last year. Key information services.

The latest data recorded based on the automatic identification system also showed that the number of oil tankers carrying North Korean flags operating in the region has increased, which indicates that China’s transfer of fuel to Pyongyang or the sale of fuel to North Korea has recovered.

Shipping activity increased before warning signs of deterioration Food shortages and economic crisis In North Korea.Kim has achieved in the past year Rarely admit failure In the development of North Korea.

Analysts say Beijing may be maintaining a multi-year policy of supporting Pyongyang’s stability by delivering food, fertilizer and fuel.

Gao Mingh, a North Korean economic expert at the Seoul ASEAN Policy Research Institute, said that last year’s imports from North Korea had “precipitous decline”, which was also a sharp drop in foreign exchange reserves due to the decline in trade levels caused by the pandemic. Plummet.

Go said: “They need some time to make up for the shortage of exports to restore imports to the level we saw before.”

The transportation of goods between North Korea and China does not necessarily violate the sanctions imposed by the United States to prevent North Korean sanctions. Nuclear weapons program.

However, according to a UN report, throughout 2020, the illegal delivery of fuel to North Korea continued through ship-to-ship transfers and “crafted tricks.”

Only a few weeks after Washington completed its policy review of North Korea, questions about China’s support for North Korea and Pyongyang’s sanctions-busting activities have increased. The United States stated that it is open to diplomatic contacts and the resumption of frozen nuclear negotiations.

Many analysts who follow North Korea believe that when President Joe Biden tries to avoid the security threat posed by the Kim Jong Il regime’s nuclear arsenal, his administration will deal with more challenges. Emergency foreign policy priorities, Such as China.

Gordon said that the Biden administration seems to be dissatisfied with the implementation of sanctions, which is one of the broader goals. Maintain relations with Pyongyang, Instead of prompting them to return to missiles or nuclear tests.

He said: “The Biden administration does not want to provide North Korea with any excuses to speed up its provocation cycle.”

The international aid organization warned that the 25 million people in North Korea are facing a humanitarian crisis due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus, and aid supplies have been cut off.

Other reports by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing

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