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North Korea-China Trade Dwindling

Posted October. 09, 2006 07:08,   


There is a bridge named “a friendship bridge between North Korea and China,” the biggest trading checkpoint between the two countries.

It is the bridge connecting between Shinuiju and Dandong, China. There is only silence in recent days unlike it used to be very busy as trading cars passed by continuously. This is because commodities to support North Korea have been decreased drastically since North Korea’s missile test in July and their recent announcement on nuclear test.

Under these circumstances, a North Korean soldier asked me for money as soon as he saw me. He didn’t care about losing face. It is the naked reality of North Korea who claims to defend themselves with nuclear weapons.

A dreary friendship bridge between North Korea and China:

On October 6, the Dandong customs opened in five days. Despite it was Chuseok, they opened because traders were having trouble due to long-lasting holidays since October 1.

However, there were only 20 trucks from North Korea, and merely 40 trucks were waiting in line in front of the customs to enter North Korea. All of trucks passed the customs and the bridge in less than two hours.

One of Chinese traders to North Korea said, “There used to be two hundred trucks passing the bridge a day, but I think there are less than a hundred these days.”

Consider 30% of trade volume between North Korea and China and 70% of support commodities to North Korea enter North Korea through this bridge, it can be seen vividly that how much trade and support volume has been reduced.

South Korean investors also agreed to say that trade volume has been decreased remarkably as support material from South Korea and China have reduced sharply since North Korea had missile test in July.

North Korean soldiers begging for money:

The riverside of Aprok in Kuandian Manchurian autonomous district, which is 15 km away from downtown of Dandong northeast, looked peaceful as usual.

Passing the breadth of two or three meters of the river straightly get you to North Korea’s island, Eosido. There were some ducks playing in the river which was too narrow to be believed it was the border.

After a while, one of North Korean soldiers at the border showed up. He asked money with his strong North Korean accent as he approached.

As I went down to the river to give him some money, Chinese tourist who came together warned me. He said if I cross the river, I would cross the border and be arrested if Chinese armed police finds out.

The North Korean solider waited for a long time and disappeared into the woods with unsatisfied look on his face.

Cargo ships diminished at Shinuiju harbor:

I took the ferry for sightseeing around the riverside of Shinuiju on Chuseok afternoon. As I came near to board the ferry, there were an amount of abandoned ships at the harbor. And there was no single cargo ship beside a tower crane of the wharf, which means there is no work at all at the wharf.

A big sign written in red color between rusty ships and gloomy buildings had my attention; it was written “Long lives the General Kim Jong Il, who is the sun of the nation in the 21st century.”

On the other hand, there were busy for loading and unloading at Dandong’s harbor. It included the ship having scrap iron from North Korea.

“The materials North Korea exports to China are mostly mineral, including coal, copper and iron ore. But recently they are even scraping pieces of old metal. I guess they are having a very hard time,” one figure from Korean Union in Dandong, China mentioned.