July 10, 2018 11:18
North Korean economic officials are busy drumming up investment in China by telling businesses there that international sanctions will end soon, Radio Free Asia reported Monday.
RFA quoted a Chinese trader in Dandong as saying that North Korean bureaucrats swarming the city to drum up investment from Chinese businesspeople.
International sanctions have taken a harsh toll on North Korea's exports. Last year, when China tightened sanctions against North Korea, the North's trade shrank 15 percent compared to 2016.
According to a report by Seoul's Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency on Monday, North Korea's trade volume totaled just US$5.55 billion in 2017, down 15 percent from the previous year.
Exports plunged 37.2 percent to $1.77 billion, while imports inched up 1.8 percent to $3.78 billion, translating into a $2.01 billion trade deficit, up a whopping 125.5 percent on-year.
But that only increased North Korea's economic dependency on China. Even as the North's trade with China dropped 13.2 percent, China's proportion of the North's trade rose to a record 94.8 percent.
Meanwhile, North Korea has called on South Korea to stick to the terms of an agreement signed by the leaders of the two Koreas at their summit earlier this year, which include South Korean investments in North Korea's railways and roads.
Propaganda outlet Meari accused Seoul of "using sanctions as an excuse" to delay acting on the terms of the agreement.
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