Kim Jong-un led strict trade restrictions in the name of coronavirus prevention

North Korea's trade with China in October decreased by 99% compared to the previous year. The nightmare of economic collapse is becoming a reality for the Kim Jong-un regime which has prioritized the prevention of coronavirus. (ISHIMARU Jiro)

Undeniably shocking figures

On November 23, the Chinese customs authorities released its statistics for trade conducted with North Korea during the month of October. China accounts for more than 90% of North Korea’s overall trade.

According to the report, the total volume of trade between China and North Korea in October totalled only US$1.659 million (1.836 billion South Korean won, 174 million yen). North Korea's imports were only US$253,000 (280 million South Korean won, 26.5 million yen). Both of these figures are down 99% compared to last year.

Exports fell 91.7% year-on-year to US$1.46 million, but the top export listed at US$1,13,293. What does it mean for electricity exported to North Korea, a country suffering from severe power shortages?

Along the Yalu River, which is the border between North Korea and China, there are hydroelectric power plants such as Taiping Wan Dam and Supung Dam, jointly operated by North Korea and China. China’s access to the electricity generated at these dams was reflected in trade statistics, but it is difficult to regard it as actual trade. North Korea's third-largest import was also a power source.

Excluding the “export” of electricity, exports to China in October amounted to only about $270,000 (about 299 million South Korean won, 28.1 million yen).
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