North Korea’s exports to China in the first eight months of this year rose 8 percent year-on-year to US$1.85 billion, mainly thanks to higher exports of natural resources such as coal and ores.
According to a diplomat at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing, North Korea’s imports from China fell 6% from a year earlier to US$2.24 billion in the January-August period, with two-way trades totaling US$4.09 billion.
The total trade volume between North Korea and China changed little in the last eight months, compared with US$4.1 billion for the same period last year, even though their trade is on a recovery track.
It is not certain, however, whether or not the recovering bilateral trade means that Beijing is easing its tough stance on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. In May, the Bank of China closed accounts with North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, which was accused by the US of helping the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Furthermore, last month, China disclosed a list of weapons-related goods banned for export to North Korea, highlighting Beijing’s commitment to enforcing international sanctions against the North.