Kim Jong-un takes notes during his meeting in China with President Xi Jinping. Originally broadcast by China Central Television in January, 2019

◆ Increasing demand for an end to Chinese and Russian sanctions

Rumors are spreading inside North Korea that the UN Security Council's economic sanctions are likely to be lifted soon.

In mid-January, a reporting partner in North Hamkyung Province spoke with ASIAPRESS about the rising rumors.

According to the reporting partner, a visiting trade official from Pyongyang had shared the following words:

"In Pyongyang, many people are saying that the sanctions will soon be lifted. This is because Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin are strongly demanding for Trump to lift the economic sanctions against North Korea, and because the United States no longer expects our country to give up its nuclear weapons program."

Another official to speak with the reporting partner, a regional representative of the Pyongyang-based 'Eunpansan' trade company, had this to say about the situation:

"The international community seems to be resisting U.S. dogma and tyranny, and not actively supporting the sanctions against our country. Is it not true that China tolerates the active smuggling at the border by our state agencies? Perhaps in anticipation of sanctions being lifted, the authorities have even tasked each trading company with paying 20% more in taxes to the government than they did last year."

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