North Korea’s new trading ally? Mongolia and Kim hit record high as China tightens trade
NORTH Korea and Mongolia trade reached a record high last year because of an increase in the dictator-run states tobacco imports.
Figures released by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) showed that trade between the two countries has increased by 43 per cent to reach £1.69 million ($2.29 million).
The increase in trade was largely because of Mongolia’s exports to North Korea, which stood at £1.4 million ($1.92 million) which was up 55 per cent from a year ago.
During the same period imports increased by 2.1 per cent to £270,000 ($370,000).
Tobacco was the most exported item from Mongolia to North Korea, which accounted for 92.2 per cent of the total.
Mongolia has been exporting tobacco to North Korea since 2016.
Medicine was the most exported item from the hermit kingdom to Mongolia.
It come as China’s commerce ministry and customs authorities said they have tightened their trade restrictions with North Korea, in accordance with UN sanctions against Pyongyang.
Beijing will limit exports of iron, steel and other metals, as well as on industrial machinery and transport vehicles to North Korea.
China, who is widely regarded as the hermit kingdoms main trading partner and energy supplier, will also limit crude oil and refined petroleum supplies.
According to China’s Commerce Ministry, the ban will begin on today, on January 6.
The UN Security Council decided last month to impose new penalties on North Korea for its intercontinental ballistic missile test.
This included setting tougher limits on refined petroleum products and crude oil supplies to Pyongyang.
In the past, Beijing has repeatedly acted as Pyongyang’s diplomatic protector however, North Korea’s recent reckless behaviour has begun to drive a wedge between the two nations.
The UN measure also demands the repatriation of all North Koreans working abroad within 24 months.
Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have resisted previous US pleas for an outright oil embargo but agreed to the latest limit.
Under the latest restrictions, Chinese companies will only be allowed to export 4 million barrels of oil and 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products per year.
They are barred from supplying the dictator run-state with military or weapons programs.
Some North Korean exports to China will also be restricted, including equipment, grain, timber and other agricultural products.
Those goods that had been sent prior to the sanctions imposed on December 23rd must be released by customs before January 24th.
In late December, Donald Trump accused China of violating the sanctions order by exporting oil to North Korea, after a media report alleged illegal supplies of oil to North Korean vessels at sea.
China denied the reports but Mr Trump claimed that they had been caught “red-handed”.