China-North Korea Trade Surges as Bilateral Relations Strengthen Amid Pandemic
Recent data demonstrates a significant resurgence in trade between China and North Korea despite the ongoing global pandemic, BNN Breaking has leaned.
According to China’s General Administration of Customs, exports to North Korea rose by 4.1% in August 2022, amounting to $162.9 million. This indicates a faster growth rate than the 1.2% increase observed in July, signifying a steady resumption of bilateral trade between the two nations as North Korea begins to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resumption of Travel
Alongside a notable increase in trade, North Korea has also resumed some passenger travel. Marking a significant milestone since the start of pandemic lockdowns in 2020, an Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang landed in Beijing on August 22. This indicates a cautious yet crucial step towards normalcy after the prolonged period of isolation.
A Closer Look at China’s Exports
China’s primary exports to North Korea in August consisted of processed hair and wool for wig manufacturing, followed by food items like rice, soybean oil, and wheat flour. These food exports hold significant value, given the longstanding food shortages in North Korea. The increase in food-related trade could be seen as a vital support to North Korea’s struggling food supply chain in the face of the pandemic.
Year-to-Date Trade Increase
From January to August, the total value of exports from China to North Korea reached $1.24 billion. This represents a substantial increase of 190.6% compared to the same period in 2021. This data underscores the strengthening economic relationship between China and North Korea as they navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implications of the Rising Trade Figures
The resurgence in trade between China and North Korea demonstrates the two nations’ resilience amid a global crisis. The increasing economic activities signify a potential move towards a more robust bilateral relationship, which could have significant geopolitical implications.
While North Korea remains under several international sanctions due to its nuclear program, the expanded trade with China might provide the country with much-needed economic relief. This could potentially influence North Korea’s diplomatic stance and actions in the international arena.
On the other hand, China’s increased economic engagement with North Korea further establishes its role as a key player in the Korean Peninsula. This could potentially enhance China’s influence in any future negotiations concerning North Korea’s nuclear program and its relations with other countries.
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