Instead of opening up to the investments promised by Chinese and South Korean entrepreneurs who were eager to set up factories using the north’s cheap labor, Kim Jong-un’s regime has experienced further abasement after recently conducting nuclear and missile tests. As a result of that, North Korea now faces harsh sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The sanctions seek to cut North Korea’s military spending by stifling its foreign trade which is restricted only to China, but boasts a significant 92 percent.
Two-thirds of this trade, estimated at six billion dollars goes through the old Friendship Bridge which, with a single lane and a railroad track, connects both countries to the center of Dandong. However, it seems that North Korea has compromised its only economic opening. The reduction of trade with China due to economic sanctions is bound to cut off the flow of money into North Korea. “There is not as much business as before,” complains Lei, a local businessman.
The drop may even be greater after North Korea’s latest nuclear test, as the United States is pushing for the UN Security Council to extend sanctions on textile garments and the veto of its workers abroad. In addition, according to Reuters reports, Washington wants to freeze the assets of Kim Jong-un in other countries.
To this end, US President Donald Trump telephoned his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday night and his call began to bear fruit yesterday. Given the new developments in the Korean Peninsula, China agrees that the UN Security Council will go further in its response and take the necessary measures, as reported by Foreign Minister Wang Yi after a few hours of the conversation between Trump and Xi. On the other hand, China has also called for a negotiated solution. “Any action by the international community against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should serve to curb its nuclear and missile program and reopen dialogue,” advocated Wang Yi.
If in case good words did not work, the Chinese Army carried out military maneuvers in the Gulf of Bohai near the Yellow Sea that leads to the Korean Peninsula. These exercises that were not aimed at any enemy, but to improve the capacity of the missions to expel the armed forces, as reported by the Ministry of Defense in reference to a hypothetical invasion.
Following Kim Jong-un’s latest atomic testing, South Korea deployed Pentagon’s anti-missile shield in its territory. Among strong protests which left several injured, the cloud of uncertainty looms over Seoul as fears of North Korean missile testing grasp global attention and subsequently corresponding measures to contain an imminent encounter.
[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]