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N. Korea-China trade on steady rise despite sanctions

All Headlines 16:25 November 25, 2016

SHANGHAI, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- Trade between North Korea and China increased for the third straight month in a row last month, inviting doubts over whether China is effectively taking part in the international community's economic sanctions' on its traditional ally, Chinese trade data showed Friday.

According to monthly data released by China's General Administration of Customs, the two communist countries traded goods worth US$525.24 million in October, up 21.1 percent from $433.73 million a year ago.

In the figure, China exported $286.86 million worth of goods to the North, up 16.1 percent on-year, and imported $238.38 million worth from the North, up 27.6 percent from a year before, the data said.

The monthly increase marked the third in a row since August, when the bilateral trade marked a 29.9 percent rise on-year in sharp comparison with a 9.1 percent drop in April following the U.N. Resolution 2270 adopted in March against the North's nuclear test in January. The figure also posted an 8.1 percent decline in May and a 15.7 percent decrease in July, except for a 9.4 percent hike in June.

In particular, China's exports of construction materials and vehicles have been noticeably on the rise, which apparently has something to do with ongoing bilateral infrastructure construction projects in their border areas.

This file photo shows Chinese cargo trucks crossing a border bridge to enter North Korea. (Yonhap)

Since March, China has been participating in the latest U.N. sanctions which require mandatory inspections of all cargo going in and out of the North and bans its exports of coal, iron and other mineral resources, a key source of hard currency that accounts for nearly half of the economically-devastated country's total exports.

"In fact, trade between the North and China has not been greatly affected by the sanctions as they are not applied in the case of cargo or exports for livelihood purposes," said Lim Eul-chul, a senior researcher at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul.

He pointed out that the North's trade with China accounts for more than 90 percent of its total external trade.

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