Report: North Korea exports of iron ore to China surging

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (UPI) — North Korea is exporting thousands of tons of iron ore to China.

Trade in North Korean raw materials has surged despite China’s standing agreement to implement the United Nations Security Council sanctions, according to a recent report.

A source in China who spoke to South Korean news service Daily NK said North Korea is exporting “thousands of tons of iron ore, daily.”

Iron ore is being loaded on 30- to 40t-class vehicles and being transported from the North Korean border town of Musan to China across the Tumen River, the source said.

The trucks travel to Helong. Sometimes high-speed freight trains are involved in the transportation of the goods, according to the report.

The source said the “sudden activities” involving North Korea is a source of bewilderment for local Chinese residents.

New trade flows are also emerging in the Chinese border city of Dandong.

A source in the city told Daily NK after the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge reopened in February, the number of vehicles going into North Korea has steadily increased.

“The trucks are fully stocked with various products and equipment materials and thousands of 20t-class vehicles headed for Sinuiju [North Korea] indicate a tenfold increase than before,” the source said.

Locals are saying the activities are a response to retaliation for THAAD deployment in South Korea, the source said.

The observations are being made at a time when China-North Korea trade has continued unabated and even increased after the adoption of stronger sanctions at the U.N.

William Brown, an East Asia specialist at Georgetown University, said trade statistics from the first half of the year indicate that trade with North Korea decreased significantly for Russia, India and Brazil.

But the only major country that has not decreased North Korea trade is China, a sign North Korea is increasing its trade dependency on Beijing, Brown said, according to Radio Free Asia.

China’s export volume to North Korea was $796 million from April to June, up more than 31 percent from January to March, according to Chinese data and South Korean news service News 1.

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