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N. Korea, China likely to resume trade for first time in 2 years

N. Korea, China likely to resume trade for first time in 2 years

Posted January. 17, 2022 08:29,   

Updated January. 17, 2022 08:29


North Korea’s freight train arrived in Dandong, Liaoning Province, China that neighbors the North Korean city of Sinuiju on Sunday. It is the first time in 16 months since August 2020 that a North Korean freight train has entered China. The North, which shut down borders with the North by citing prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in January 2020, will likely resume trade with China in earnest about two years since then, watchers say.

According to several entrepreneurs in Dandong on Sunday, the North’s freight train entered Dandong at around 9:10 am on the day through the iron bridge ‘Chosun-China Friendship Bridge’ that connects the North and China. Unlikely in November 2021 when a train with only two train cars was operated for a test run, a train with at least 10 cars has reportedly arrived at Dandong Station this time. The train will be loaded with emergency drug supplies and living necessities, before departing for the North on Monday.

Sources in Dandong said that it has been said that a freight train with 10 to 20 cars will be operating between North Korea and China daily starting on January 17.” The North and China are not in a phase to completely open up their borders just yet, but they are set to increase the volume of freight transported by freight trains, as the two countries are resuming bilateral trade.

Back in January 2020, the North shut down its borders with China and halted operation of passenger trains to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. And seven months later, it completely halted freight trains operated at long intervals.

The South Korean government is paying close attention to the resumption of trade between North Korea and China, while trying to analyze its meaning. “It seems that preparation for resumption of trade in border regions between the North and China was completed early this month,” a government source said. “The two countries may have engaged in a war of nerve over the timing of resumption, and they apparently have taken action this time.”

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com