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N. Korea smuggles minerals to China in return for food

North Korea recently smuggled internationally sanctioned minerals to China and imported a large amount of food in return, Daily NK has learned.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Friday that North Korea’s Ministry of State Security smuggled a large amount of food from China through the Samjang customs facility in Daehongdan County in the early hours of June 18, when a special security week was declared ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to North Korea.

The smuggling operation, which was carried out with government approval, lasted nearly four hours, and the import volume was large enough to require 10 containers.

The ministry, in cooperation with the Yanggang Provincial Security Bureau, temporarily replaced the checkpoint guards within a one-kilometer radius of the customs facility with senior, junior, and non-commissioned officers from the provincial security bureau.

The provincial security bureau officers conducted strict surveillance before withdrawing immediately after the goods were transported, and the original security personnel then returned to their posts.

“Most of the goods brought in from China that day were food items such as flour, rice, sugar, cooking oil, spices, whole peppercorns, and sesame seeds,” the source said. “The ministry had been negotiating with China for about a month to bring in supplies for the July 27 Victory Day [Armistice Day] holiday distribution, and went ahead with the smuggling operation on [June 18].”

According to the source, the ministry did not pay in cash for the large import of food, but instead handed over dozens of tons of minerals to the Chinese side.

“They didn’t buy the goods with money, but transferred minerals loaded on several 10-ton trucks to China. These were minerals that had received prior government approval for shipment.”

In short, the ministry received government permission to export minerals and import food in return.

Regime plans to export more minerals to China going forward

U.N. Security Council Resolution 2371 bans the export of North Korean minerals, including coal. The smuggling operation is therefore a clear violation of international sanctions. However, sanctions violations in the border areas have increased recently.

The Ministry of State Security plans to continue smuggling minerals through the Samjang customs facility in Daehongdan County. The agency has already signed contracts and ordered the minerals requested by the Chinese side from North Korean factories, and has sent a list of the items to be imported to the Chinese side.

“Although the date of the transaction hasn’t been confirmed, the ministry has issued additional preparatory orders to mineral production units to speed up the production and processing of minerals to earn foreign exchange,” the source said.

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

July 02, 2024 at 01:00PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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