North Korea and China Resume Trading After Hiatus


Ten freight cars have crossed the Sino-Korean friendship bridge from the Chinese city Dandong to Sinuiju, North Korea. This is the first time China and North Korea have been seen trading after a five-month hiatus following Covid outbreaks along the two border towns.


Both countries have agreed to set up a safe and stable freight transportation schedule according to Wang Webin, the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry Information Department of China. The train is expected to run one to two times a day. 


North Korea and China’s trade dropped 90% from $604.2 million to $318 million in 2021. China exported $59.7 million worth of goods to North Korea as of July 2022. While North Korea exported $13 million worth of goods to China. China’s top exports to North Korea were rice, soybean oil, and sugar. China’s exports to North Korea dropped from $59.74 million in July to $19.05 million in June. Between July 2021 and July 2022 the exports of China increased by $42.9M (256%) from $16.8M to $59.7M, while imports increased by $8.86M (215%) from $4.12M to $13M according to OEC World. 


Kim Jong-Un declared victory over North Korea’s Covid-19 outbreak at the end of August. 4.8 million North Korean citizens contracted Covid-19 out of the 26 million population from May to June this year. Experts expressed doubts that the country was over Covid after North Korea purchased one million masks and fifteen thousand rubber gloves from China in late July. 


North Korea’s state media celebrated having only 74 Covid deaths, but this number is unlikely since North Koreans are unvaccinated. There are no Vaccinated North Korean citizens and testing is not widely available, therefore Covid statistics from state-run media are not credible. 


It is expected that both China and North Korea will continue importing and exporting goods using the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge as long as Covid-19 outbreaks do not occur in the border towns of Dandong and Sinuiju.