June 24 (UPI) — Bilateral trade between China and North Korea may be recovering as the coronavirus outbreak subsides in the region, according to the latest Chinese data.
China’s General Administration of Customs said Wednesday two-way trade between the two countries reached $ 63.3 million in May, up more than 160 percent from the previous month but still significantly lower, or down 77 percent, from May 2019.
In April, two-way trade was estimated to be about $ 24 million.
In May North Korea imported more than $ 58 million in goods from China, up more than 168 percent from April, when the country imported about $ 21.8 million, Chinese statistics show.
The most recent data show North Korea has also increased exports to China, delivering more than $ 4.7 million in goods to the world’s second-largest economy, an increase of 115.2 percent from April, when North Korea exported about $ 2.2 million in goods. Analysts have said North Korea relies on China for about 90 percent of trade.
Trade and exchange was reduced significantly after North Korea closed its borders in January in response to the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China.
Chinese data is pointing to a gradual recovery. Two-way trade was estimated to be $ 18.6 million in March. North Korea’s trade with China began to recover in April, when it rose 28.7 percent from the previous month.
Prior to the adoption of United Nation Security Council sanctions Resolution 2270 in 2016, the two countries traded more than $ 2 billion in May 2015, according to South Korean news service News 1.
Recent satellite imagery also indicate activities may have resumed at the border, between the Chinese city of Dandong and the North Korean city of Sinuiju.
According to analysis published on 38 North on Tuesday, imagery from June 15 shows more than a dozen trucks waiting to pass through Chinese border control.