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Automobile Parts, Water Pumps, Diesel Power Generators And Electric Locks; Chinese Smugglers in North Korea Have Good Business

The source said that under normal circumstances, the goods being smuggled would not be worth the bribes these smugglers must pay to get the goods across the river, but the sanctions have made the effort worthwhile.

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Nort Korea
North Koreans cross the river border near Sinuiju, North Korea and Dandong, China. Pixabay

The sanctions, aimed at depriving North Korea of resources that could be channeled into its nuclear program, prohibit U.N. member nations from exporting certain goods into North Korea.

The illegal but lucrative trade in banned goods has enabled the merchants to amass small fortunes.

“Many of them are making money by smuggling goods prohibited by the Chinese government into North Korea across the river,” said a source from a Chinese city bordering North Korea in an interview with RFA’s Korean Service.

“[These] merchants are doing big business, able to smuggle 200,000 Chinese Yuan (about $30,000) worth of illegal goods into the North [with each shipment],” said the source.

The large-scale nature of their smuggling enterprise necessitates an effort that amounts to far more than an individual hiding a few pieces of contraband in their personal luggage. These operations require complex teamwork, according to the source.

One partner operating in China will deliver the goods across the river to the other partner in North Korea. Trust is paramount in these types of operations, so many work with family members.

“Most of them work in pairs, like a husband and wife or a father and son. They can also team up with other smugglers and send goods [to each other] across the river,” said the source.

The source described two popular routes for smugglers, explaining that the width of the river and the presence of border guards were a factor in determining the costs of their trade.

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“Many of them are making money by smuggling goods prohibited by the Chinese government into North Korea across the river,” said a source from a Chinese city bordering North Korea in an interview with RFA’s Korean Service. Pixabay

“It costs about 200 Chinese Yuan (about $30), on average, to transport 70 kilos from Changbai county, Jilin province to Hyesan city, through a [professional] smuggler. However, it costs double if they transport the package via Dandong and Sinuiju.” the source said, referring to towns and cities on the shared river border between China and North Korea.

“The river is much wider [between Dandong and Sinuiju] and they have to spend more to bribe the Chinese and North Korean border guards,” said the source.

The source said that under normal circumstances, the goods being smuggled would not be worth the bribes these smugglers must pay to get the goods across the river, but the sanctions have made the effort worthwhile.

Another source, an ethnic Korean living in China said the items being smuggled include “automobile parts, water pumps, diesel power generators and electric locks.”

“Items like these seem like they would be necessary for North Korean companies, high ranking officials or [otherwise] rich people,” the source said.

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Smuggling has become more and more commonplace as North Korea transitions into a market economy. As people cannot live on what they are paid by the government, many must find alternative income sources. Pixabay

“[The smugglers] make more money when there are more things to smuggle so they actually welcome international sanctions on North Korea,” the source said.

“It actually works out because China and North Korea have a common interest in bringing sanctioned goods into North Korea,” the source said.

Also Read: Toddler Locks Father’s iPad for Nearly Half a Century

Smuggling has become more and more commonplace as North Korea transitions into a market economy. As people cannot live on what they are paid by the government, many must find alternative income sources. This has led to a very active black market enabled by bribery and corruption, often with government and military officials themselves leading the smuggling operations.

RFA reported in March that a commander of a North Korean border defense regiment was arrested for embezzling funds from a state-sanctioned car smuggling scheme. Sources in that story were surprised by the sudden crackdown on smugglers, given that the practice is rampant along the border with China. (RFA)

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Here’s how Carbon Footprint Can be Reduced in India

Carbon footprint in India can be reduced by 20%

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Carbon global warming

BY VISHAL GULATI

The report focuses on the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the two most carbon-intensive products — passenger cars and residential buildings.

Producing and using materials more efficiently to build passenger cars and residential homes could cut carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions between 2016 and 2060 by up to 25 gigaton across the Group of Seven (G7) member states, the International Resource Panel (IRP) finds in a summary for policymakers released here on Wednesday.

This is more than double the annual emissions from all the world’s coal-fuelled power plants.

The IRP finds that emissions from the production of materials like metals, wood, minerals and plastics more than doubled over the 20-year period to 2015, accounting for almost one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon products cars
Majority of carbon-intensive products are used in manufacturing cars. Pixabay

It warns that without boosting material efficiency, it will be almost impossible and substantially more expensive to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius — the more ambitious of the two Paris climate targets.

The IRP Summary for Policymakers, Resource Efficiency and Climate Change: Material Efficiency Strategies for a Low-Carbon Future, prepared at the request of the G7, is the first comprehensive scientific analysis estimating total cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in homes and cars that can be achieved through material efficiency.

Together, the construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of emissions generated by the first use of materials.

Using strategies and technologies that already exist, G7 countries could save up to 170 million tons of carbon emissions from residential homes in 2050.

India could save 270 million tons, and China could save 350 million tons in 2050 in this same sector.

If we look at the full lifecycle of cars, material efficiency strategies could help G7 countries, China and India reduce GHG emissions by up to 450 million tons each in 2050. These reductions can help countries stay within their carbon budget.

Extending the lifetime of products, reusing components, substituting or using less material, and making more intensive use of materials by, for example, ride-sharing, are all strategies that G7 countries could implement today to tackle global warming.

“Climate mitigation efforts have traditionally focused on enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the transition to renewables. While this is still key, this report shows that material efficiency can also deliver big gains,” UN Environment Executive Director Inger Andersen said.

The IRP finds that the carbon footprint of the production of materials for cars could be cut by up to 70 per cent in G7 countries, and 60 per cent in China and 50 per cent in India in 2050.

The largest emission savings from passenger vehicles come from a change in how people use cars, like car-pooling and car-sharing, and a move away from large SUVs.

Greenhouse gases carbon
The construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of emissions generated by the first use of materials. Pixabay

The report also shows that greenhouse gas emissions from the production of materials for residential buildings in the G7, China and India could be reduced between 50 and 80 per cent in 2050 with greater material efficiency.

The most promising strategies include more intensive use of space e.g. reducing demand for floor space, switching out concrete and masonry for sustainably produced wood, improving recycling, and building lighter homes using less carbon-intensive steel, cement and glass.

Reducing demand for floor space in the G7 by up to 20 per cent could lower greenhouse gas emissions from the production of materials by up to 73 per cent in 2050.

Shared homes, smaller units, and downsizing when children move out lead to these big reductions.

The cuts revealed by the report are on top of emission savings generated by the decarbonisation of electricity supply, the electrification of home energy use, and the shift towards electric and hybrid vehicles.

Many of these emission reductions will only be possible if countries create enabling policy environments and incentives, the report says.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres wants countries to increase the ambition of their climate targets at the ongoing UN climate change negotiations (COP25) that entered its final stage in this Spanish capital.

Also Read- 86 Fashion Companies Partner with Political Leaders to Deliver Climate Action

The IRP report urges policymakers to integrate material efficiency into their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to set higher emission reduction targets that will limit the damage from global warming.

Currently, only Japan, India, China, and Turkey mention resource efficiency, resources management, material efficiency, circular economy or consumption side instruments as explicit mitigation measures in their NDCs. (IANS)