◆ Would Trump's impeachment ease sanctions?

After huge trade slumps and a market recession, North Koreans are understandably desperate for the sanctions to be lifted. However, there are no prospects of the sanctions being lifted at this point. Rather, unfounded rumors continue to spread over the news that China and Russia submitted a resolution at the UN Security Council late last year to ease sanctions as well as over the news of President Trump's impeachment trial in the United States.

According to the reporting partner, "Though they have been suffering under the strong sanctions for quite some time, the trading companies in Pyongyang are still in a total state of confusion. If China moves to ease sanctions, the first changes would be seen at the border with smuggling and trade. But we are yet to see a change of any kind from the Chinese side."

In North Korea, expectations for sanctions relief swelled during the Hanoi summit with the U.S. in February of last year. The breakdown of the talks, however, caused immense disappointment. Since November of last year, though, news of Trump's impeachment trial brought fresh rumors of an impending end to the sanctions. To avoid blame for the failing economy and to limit the public's rising expectations, the regime tried and failed to control the spread of such rumors.

Indeed, the Kim Jong-un regime, yet to find a way out of the prolonged economic slump, has become the target of growing voices of discontent. A Pyongyang trade official, visiting China late last year, did not hide his frustration, saying," Who can speak well of a government that only places burdens on its people and demands of them 'self-reliance'? All that trading companies can do is wait and pray for an end to the sanctions." (Kang Ji-won)

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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