10/02/2020, 09.44
NORTH KOREA
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Collapse in trade with China. Kim and his sister visit the flooded areas

70% drop in the first eight months of the year. Bilateral trade halts at € 436 million. The trade deficit with Beijing is growing, the only true partner of the North Koreans. The Pyongyang leader inspects the areas devastated by the passage of typhoons.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In the first eight months of the year, trade between North Korea and China recorded a 70% decrease compared to the same period in 2019, the South Korean Unification Ministry revealed today. According to their report the collapse is due to border controls set up by Pyongyang to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

From January to August, the two countries exchanged assets for 436 million euros: last year the figure was 1.5 billion. North Korean exports to the powerful neighbour amounted to 36 million euros, largely exceeded by imports (400 million).

Pyongyang remains heavily indebted, confirming its political and economic dependence on the Chinese giant. Last year, bilateral trade with China accounted for 95.4% of total North Korea's. In 2007 the share was 67.1%; due to international sanctions to contain the North Korean nuclear and missile program, Beijing is the only true partner of the Kim Jong-un regime.

The coronavirus emergency has dealt a severe blow to the already disastrous North Korean economy. In the past two months, the country has also suffered extensive damage from a series of floods caused by the passage of several typhoons.

According to data from the regime, in August the floods damaged more than 39,000 hectares of cultivated land, 16,680 homes and 630 public buildings.

The 38 North website reports that the Yongbyon nuclear site, central to the development of the Pyongyang atomic program, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site also suffered damage.

In an attempt to show that production activities are recovering, Kim recently inspected some agricultural areas affected by the floods. The images provided today by the state agency KCNA show him in the company of his sister Kim Yo-jong, a sign of her growing importance in the North Korean power structure.

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