Trade in the Port of Nampo seemingly unhindered by sanctions

Kim Ji Seung, intern  |  2016-10-21 15:08
VOA (Voice Of America) reported on October 18 that although it has been five months since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2270 imposing sanctions on North Korea, robust trade activity can still be seen in the Port of Nampo in North Korea. 

The U.S.-based organization conducted an analysis of satellite images taken by the American private satellite company Digital Globe.

"We confimed that the open-air storage yard, the size of which is 350 m by 250 m, in the Port of Nampo is now fully packed with trading goods," VOA reported.  "Also, two large container vessels were seen anchored at the dock, and 10 trucks heading to the port on nearby roads were detected."

VOA also added that, compared to the photo image taken of the same location on February 2, not much difference can be seen from October and May last year when there were robust trade activities. The number of containers and trucks has even increased.

Resolution 2270 calls for strict regulations on exports from North Korea and inspection of cargo coming and going from its borders. The volume of exports from North Korea was expected to dip dramatically, however, VOA notes that, at least with regard to the number of cargo containers visible, little has changed following the sanctions.  

The coal export port located approximately 1.5 km away from the container port is also showing signs of increased activity.

"Three vessels of lengths between 140-170 m can be seen loading coal in the port. This is an increase compared to the photo images captured respectively in May and October last year, and late February, when only two vessels were spotted," VOA noted.

Steady Sino-North Korea bilateral trade despite the sanctions could provide an explanation for the observations. Resolution 2270 includes mandatory inspections of cargo to and from the DPRK, a ban on exports from the DPRK of mineral resources such as coal and iron ore, and a ban on transfers of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel, to the DPRK. But the regulation on transactions (especially of coal) was revised to exclude transactions deemed necessary for livelihood purposes, at Chinas request.

According to Korea International Trade Association statistics, the volume of trade between China and North Korea during the first half of this year grew by 0.6% compared to the same period last year, and the total volume of trade between the two countries in August reached approximately 620 million USD, an increase of 48% compared to July. In August, the imports from China to North Korea reached approximately 330 million USD, a rise of 74% compared to July, while exports to China from North Korea reached approximately 280 million USD, an increase of 24% from July.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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