go to top
North Korean factory workers at the Pyongyang 326 Electric Wire Factory, Jan. 10, 2017, Pyongyang, North Korea (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

North Korea’s Dependence on China Is a Problem—for Pyongyang

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The world is currently trying to figure out what China might be doing, saying and thinking about North Korea. Observers looks for signs in Chinese state media that Beijing might finally cut Pyongyang off financially and politically. They scrutinize shipping traffic to parse whether the flow of oil and coal between North Korea and China might be diminishing, with potentially disastrous results for Kim Jong Un’s regime. With a new president in South Korea, debates will continue about how Seoul can convince China to use its leverage on Pyongyang to get it to freeze its nuclear weapons program.

There should be no doubt that China has the means to crash the North Korean economy, if it wants to. North Korea is not as closed off from the world as some might think, but it has very few trade partners. China accounts for the vast majority of North Korea’s international trade. Those relatively few North Koreans who are fortunate to own cars saw this with their own eyes last month, as fears that China would decrease exports of oil sent gasoline prices skyrocketing by as much as 83 percent. Even rumors of Chinese action can spark drastic price shocks in North Korea. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Quarterly
$ 25 for 3 months
  • Two-week FREE trial access.
  • Cancel during trial and pay nothing.
  • Just $25 quarterly after trial.
Try It FREE
Annual
$ 75 for 1 year
  • Two-week FREE trial access.
  • Cancel during trial and pay nothing.
  • Just $75 annually after trial.
Try It FREE