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China in talks with N. Korea about providing raw materials and food

China plans to provide raw materials and food to North Korea through a loan, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a high-ranking Daily NK source in North Korea said Monday that working-level talks were underway between North Korea and China over a loan agreement. Officials from the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Ministry of Foreign Affairs form the core of the negotiating team with China.

The most important items China will loan to North Korea are raw materials. “China made a solemn vow to offer great help in providing resources the North Korean economy needs to develop,” the source said.

In particular, China said it would provide “consideration material” to North Korea for free to mark the “year of North Korea-China friendship,” the source added. 

With the Chinese side actively negotiating the loan agreement, both the high-ranking talks and working-level discussions appear to be proceeding smoothly.

The source said the loan repayment conditions “have enough wiggle room to adjust according to the state of bilateral economic cooperation going forward.” In other words, no precise repayment sum or deadline was set.

However, in return for providing North Korea with raw materials and food, China will receive minerals when it asks or obtain priority in investments in sectors related to the development of North Korea’s natural resources and economy.

China plans to transport most of the loaned resources and food overland through Liaoning or Jilin provinces, though some items will likely be sent by ship depending on the kind.

Asked if the loan includes items that violate UN Security Council sanctions, the source said that while the subject was not an official agenda item, “working-level negotiators had in-depth discussions” on the matter.

This suggests that North Korea and China are aware of U.N. Security Council sanctions and that both sides discussed how to trade sensitive items in working-level talks.

However, the source said the two sides “have long been quiet about internal matters” and that within North Korea’s ruling party, “they are emphasizing that the agreement doesn’t violate sanctions.”

In North Korea, officials believe friendship and trust with China have risen as bilateral economic cooperation increased since Zhao Leji, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the third-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party, visited Pyongyang.

“Inside the Workers’ Party, they are pushing the idea that even though it has a different language and culture, the fraternal nation China, where the leaders have forged blood ties with North Korea’s leaders for generations, is better than the puppets [South Korea], who talk about being one people do everything [to ensure the continuance of] sanctions to strangle us,” the source said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

Please send any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

Read in Korean

May 03, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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