September 12, 2016 13:05
Trade between North Korea and China has increased since UN Security Council sanctions against the North came into effect in March, Japanese media reported Sunday.
Long lines of trucks waited at the border in Hunchun, Jilin Province to pass through customs on Saturday, the day after the North's latest nuclear test, according to the Asahi Shimbun.
In Tumen in the same province, over 3,000 North Korean workers went to work as usual. One of them told the paper she was happy about the nuclear test because cash-strapped Pyongyang needs to keep sending workers to overseas to earn more hard currency.
China did impose some sanctions in March, banning blacklisted ships from its ports and thoroughly searching trucks arriving from the North. But as time went by things returned to normal.
The Yomiuri Shimbun said that since South Korea agreed to let the U.S. station a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here, China has become notably less stringent about enforcing the sanctions.
Beijing believes the battery is aimed at containing its military might in the region and the North Korean threat is merely a fig leaf.
Trade between the North and China shrank eight to nine percent on-year in April and May but has been growing since June. According to China's General Administration of Customs, trade volume between the two countries reached US$503.77 million in June, up over nine percent increase from a year earlier.
China's coal imports from the North have returned to levels seen last year, and China is supplying oil to the North through a cross-border pipeline.
Sources in China said power cuts are a lot less frequent in Pyongyang and there are more taxis. There is also a building boom with high demand for construction materials.
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