N. Korea-China trade on decline amid icy ties

November 11, 2015
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (AP Photos)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (AP Photos)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Trade between North Korea and China has gone down in the first half, data showed Wednesday, due mainly to the weakening diplomatic ties between the two allies.

North Korea’s exports to China reached $1.17 billion in the January-June period, down 10.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association.

Falling global prices of raw materials hurt the North’s exports as well, the association said.

The North’s imports of Chinese goods also plunged 15.8 percent over the cited period to $1.33 billion.

North Korea’s investment in China came to $290,000 in 2014, falling sharply from $2.68 million posted in 2013.

Beijing’s investment in North Korea also halved to $59.1 million in 2014 from the $109.4 million in 2012, it added, indicating that the economic exchanges between the two have lost steam over the past years.

The number of North Koreans visiting China reached 184,000 in 2014, down 10.7 percent on-year. In the first half of 2015, the number edged down 2.3 percent from the previous year.

“It marked a rare case of trade, investment and personnel exchanges declining for the second consecutive year despite Pyongyang’s heavy dependency on China for its economy,” the association said. “The future of the North Korean economy lies on how quickly it revitalizes capital and goods exchanges with China.”

The two countries’ relations have been strained following the North’s nuclear test in early 2013 and missile tests. China has been calling on North Korea to comply with U.N. resolutions banning the North’s nuclear and missile tests.