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More robust N. Korea-China trade happens after nuclear test

More robust N. Korea-China trade happens after nuclear test

Posted September. 18, 2016 08:03,   

Updated September. 18, 2016 08:17


“Do you think China is sincerely trying to impose sanctions against North Korea? After North Korea’s nuclear test, it appears to hesitate when foreign reporters flock to the country. But the reality is pretty much the same.”

An ethnic Korean entrepreneur doing business in Dandong in Liaoning Province, a city bordering North Korea where over 70 percent of trade between North Korea and China happen, said in an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Saturday, “Chinese customs used to be tight after North Korea’s nuclear test only for a moment. Since its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, there have been few changes.” He hires some 20 North Korean workers to produce goods and sell them to China and third countries. He goes to Shinuiju in North Korea across the Yalu River anytime with a “one-day pass” and often visits Pyongyang for business.

Another entrepreneur based in Hunchun, Jilin Province who knows well about the border region between the two countries said, “After North Korean waitresses fled to South Korea, Pyongyang sent inspectors to the bordering region. But a factory in Hunchun will hire some 400 to 500 North Korean workers.”

Though Beijing talks about further sanctions against North Korea in response to its fifth nuclear test, it has not yet implemented U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270 adopted after the fourth nuclear test. Despite the talks over sanctioning North Korean workers working abroad, which was initiated particularly by the U.S., North Korean workers’ wages have reportedly gone down to below 300 dollars per month driven by the inflow of workers from the Kaesong Industrial Complex that was shut down by South Korea. Foreign media report that trade between North Korea and China in the bordering region has rather increased after the fifth nuclear test.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper said on Saturday, “Dandong Customs Office is in chaos due to trucks waiting for customs clearance even after the fifth nuclear test.” Local traders said, “There is more trade than last year. There is no impact from the nuclear test.” They said that around 400 trucks carrying agricultural machinery and cement have come from China to North Korea and around 100 trucks have come from North Korea to China on a daily basis.

Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun said, “Dozens of fishing boats which appear to smuggle goods are anchoring at the side of the Yalu River in the outskirt of Dandong.” Coal is often unloaded on the sea at night without customs clearance. The newspaper said that a one-day trip to Shinuiju is popular so that around 400 people purchases the 790-yuan (119-dollar) trip per day.

베이징=구자룡특파원 bonhong@donga.com · 도쿄=장원재특파원 peacechaos@donga.com