N.Korea Trade with China Increases

Despite the tensions between the two countries due to failed business ventures and China’s recent expression of concern and ‘regret’ with North Korea’s successful satellite launch, the Voice of America reports North Korea’s trade with China has expanded rapidly in 2011: A new report says North Korea’s trade with China accounted for more than 70 percent of its total commerce last year, as the isolated nation deepens its reliance on its only major ally. South Korea’s national statistics office said Thursday that Pyongyang’s bilateral trade with Beijing totaled over $5.6 billion in 2011. That is an increase of over 60 percent from the previous year. Seoul says it is the first time that North Korea’s trade with China has topped 70 percent of its global commerce since it began tracking trade figures in 2000. Meanwhile, the economic gap between South Korea and North Korea continues to be large. The report found South Korea’s gross national income per capita ($1239) was nearly 19 times that of the North in 2011. According to the Los Angeles Times, analysts predict 2012 will be another year of trade expansion: The dramatic increase reflects a conscious decision by Beijing in 2011 to prop up its failing ally. Shortly before his death a year ago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il made three trips to China to secure support for rebuilding his ruling Workers’ Party, the equivalent of the Communist Party in China. The Chinese also have been keen to prop up Kim’s 29-year-old son and successor, Kim Jong Un. “This is just the beginning of further big increases in Sino-North Korea trade,” explained John Park, an expert in China-Korean relations at MIT University. “The primary goal of the Communist Party of China is to more effective manage what is referred to as the North Korean ...
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