North Korea could resume trade with China and Russia in the midst of an economic crisis

Since the launch of COVID-19, North Korea has adopted the strictest blockade in the world, further increasing financial difficulties. Reportedly, the number of military deserters has increased, money cannot be printed, and food and medicine are scarce. Deterioration of North Korea’s living environment could force North Korea to open a border between China and Russia as early as November.

According to members of the National Intelligence Service of South Korea October 28North Korea is preparing to lift the blockade on China and Russia and is currently negotiating to resume rail transport and trade with the two countries, indicating a possible start this month.

Since the outbreak of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus in January last year, North Korea has suspended all border transactions, including China. Bilateral trade between China and North Korea has declined significantly.

But in the last few months, North Korea has shown signs of accepting international aid. North Korea has increased its intake of humanitarian goods since July, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service. And in August, medicines and pandemic supplies were allowed to enter the country, suggesting that North Korea could open more ports.

North Korea’s economic crisis has reportedly plagued central banks. Currency issuance has been suspended due to a shortage of special paper and ink imports required for money printing. A low quality temporary currency was created using “North Korean paper”.

In the first nine months of this year, bilateral trade between North Korea and China was $ 185 million, one-third of the same period last year, according to data provided by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service. It was just. Trading volume in September of this year was only 29% of the same period in 2019.

On the other hand, the North Korean government has forcibly set up factories due to sluggish import trade, and some factories have become overloaded, resulting in frequent factory explosions. In addition, water-borne infectious diseases such as typhoid fever are widespread due to a shortage of emergency medical supplies.

In addition, the number of North Korean deserters increased by more than 80 percent compared to the previous year. According to South Korean parliamentary intelligence officer Ha Tae-keung, this increase was mainly due to the economic downturn in North Korea and the government’s forced mobilization of soldiers into labor such as construction sites.

The clock stopped due to lack of batteries

In July, Joo Seong-ha, an exile from North Korea and a reporter for the South Korean newspaper Dong-A Ilbo, wrote a column saying, “Time has stopped in North Korea.” The article revealed that ordinary people in North Korea have little way to tell time. The watch and wall clock are stopped because there is no battery.

According to Ju, Chinese clocks, wall clocks and batteries are the mainstream in North Korea. Also, the Chinese Communist Party virus has closed the border for over a year, making batteries unavailable to North Koreans.

“Mobile phones are widely available in big cities like Pyongyang, but few people have mobile phones in poor rural areas. TVs are rarely turned on due to power outages, and in most cases , Broadcast only in the evening when electricity is available. Fewer homes have computers and laptops. There is little way to know the time. People can’t make promises, so everything is confusing “I will.” Joe said.

“A society that doesn’t know the time is by no means a modern society,” he said.

“Even for those who overcame fear during the’suffering march’, a society without time will experience a whole new world,” Joe added.

“The procession of suffering” is a euphemism for the famine of the North Korean authorities. It is also called “Ardus March”, which refers to the great famine that occurred in North Korea from 1994 to 1998. This was a period of mass starvation with a general economic crisis, with an estimated more than 3 million people starving to death.

More than half of the population can be hungry

Food shortages are a major problem in North Korea. Prior to the CCP virus pandemic, North Korea often relied on imports and aid from China to make up for poor crops.

In response to this year’s food shortage, North Korean officials issued a general mobilization order to direct citizens to rural areas to support food harvesting, according to a report by the South Korean National Intelligence Service on October 28. It is reported that.

Epoch Times Photo
On April 25, 2007, a collective farm in North Hwanghae near Pyongyang as seen from the road running between Pyongyang and Kaesong. (AFP / AFP via Getty Images)

The report estimates that North Korea completed autumn rice harvesting around October 20th. Due to the long daylight hours, North Korea’s total grain production is expected to exceed last year.

However, a US-based think tank said the data collected by the satellite showed yields below average or good yields.

“Although the famine rate is still at stake, negative trends, combined with external factors such as low yields in the previous year and flood damage to northeastern agricultural land and crop transportation infrastructure, exacerbate national food insecurity. “The Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report released on October 4th.

The USDA estimates that 63.1 percent of North Korea’s population, or about 16.3 million, are suffering from food shortages. According to the “International Food Security Rating 2021-2031” released in July, this number has increased by 1 million compared to last year.

The report also estimated that North Korea’s food shortage this year was 1,041 million tonnes. This is about 200,000 tonnes more than the 860,000 tonnes predicted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).