China’s Exports to North Korea Up for 3rd Straight Month

By Rita Li
Rita Li
Rita Li
Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.
September 19, 2021 Updated: September 19, 2021

China’s exports to North Korea grew for the third straight month in August, taking up a quarter of the overall volume of 2021 to date, China’s General Administration of Customs reported on Sept. 18.

Chinese shipments to North Korea saw a 30 percent increase to $22.5 million in August from $16.8 million in July, although exports were almost 10 times higher two years earlier, before the pandemic hit. Exports to North Korea in 2019 totaled $2.74 billion.

China accounts for more than 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade, despite United Nations sanctions against the country. Data show 96.3 percent of North Korea’s imports in 2020 were from China.

Since 2006, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been prioritizing its nuclear arsenal to boost national defense. The U.N. has banned Pyongyang from importing weapons, oil, and gas products, as well as from selling metals, seafood, coal, and textiles.

It remains unclear whether the products China is trading with North Korea are in line with U.N. sanctions.

China imported $6.2 million in goods from North Korea in August, up from $4.1 million in July, China’s customs data show.

The records tracked official trade only, excluding cross-border smuggling between the two neighboring countries.

Early in 2020, North Korea was also one of the first countries to shut its borders and halted trade with China following the start of the pandemic.

Rita Li
Rita Li
Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.