Chinese imports of North Korean iron ore, lead, coal at lowest level in years – Forward Observer Shop

Chinese imports of North Korean iron ore, lead, coal at lowest level in years

China appears to be making good on its UN pledge to reduce trade and commerce with neighboring North Korea in a bid to convince the regime to abandon its nuclear weapons and ICBM programs.

The latest data indicate that imports into China from North Korea have dropped sharply since the UN-mandated sanctions went into effect, further isolating the North Korean regime.

Lead ore and concentrate arrivals totaled just 1,321 tonnes, worth $1.18 million, down 84 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, iron ore shipments plunged 98 percent to 3,035 tonnes, worth about $55,000 — the lowest level since 2011, according to an analysis by Reuters.

China imported 511,619 tonnes of coal, worth about $44 million, from North Korea, down 71.6 percent from a year ago.

According to figures released last week, trade between Pyongyang and Beijing only amounted to about $412 million, which is the lowest since April.

Exports of gasoline and diesel fuel from China to North Korea were also at their lowest levels.

Analyst Comment: While trade between the two countries has not dried up completely, it is definitely much lower than normal. While the North Korean people are used to such hardships, the lack of trade income will definitely hurt Pyongyang’s ability to finance its weapons development. Still, the increased sanctions aren’t likely to convince leader Kim Jong-un to stop development. In fact, the additional sanctions may even lead him to lash out in desperation.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 3: What are the latest indicators of a U.S.-North Korea war?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region.  Subscribe here to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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