May 23, 2018 13:30
Chinese trucks are the latest of a slew of small signs that China is relaxing sanctions against North Korea.
Although banned for export to North Korea under UN sanctions, Chinese trucks were on prominent display at a trade fair in Pyongyang, NK News reported Tuesday.
The report comes a day after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "China must continue to be strong and tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made. The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in."
China rebutted the charge, saying it is "strictly fulfilling its international obligations."
The trucks' display does not mean North Korean customers can buy them for immediate delivery but sends a worrying message.
Three Foton trucks made by state-owned Chinese carmaker BAIC can be seen in photos of the fair the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang put on Facebook.
UN Security Council sanctions that China supported ban the export of all vehicles to North Korea.
Since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's surprise visit to Beijing in late March, there have been reports that Chinese officials have been turning a blind eye to North Korean laborers returning to China.
They are coming back in groups or 10 or 20 rather than in large groups to avoid being too conspicuous, a source in the Chinese border city of Dandong told RFA. Chinese police are taking no notice. One restaurant that has been employing about a dozen North Korean women for the last two weeks is right across from the police station.
The UNSC bans the dispatch of new North Korean laborers overseas or renewing the visas of existing ones. The new workers apparently come on a border pass that is only supposed to be valid for a month, but in reality passes valid for more than six months are issued.
Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang said China and the North are only maintaining "normal exchanges" as friendly neighbors.
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