Kim Jong-un with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 20, welcoming him to North Korea on his first ever state visit. As originally broadcast by China Central Television.

The reporting partner continued, “Of course, those who are engaged in trading are well aware of how the sanctions are structured. They say it is impossible to activate trade with China, especially as the U.S. is overseeing the sanctions. Xi Jinping can’t possibly solve the problem with the United States by himself or with short state visits to the North. Traders don’t expect lots of support or for restrictions on smuggling to become a bit more relaxed. They are pessimistic.”

The traders’ outlook is not unreasonable. After the breakdown of talks with the US at the Hanoi Summit in late February, expectations of an end to the sanctions soared. Though Kim Jong-un has visited China four times so far for talks with President Xi, there has still been no relief.

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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