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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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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.

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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. 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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Huawei Dominates Chinese Smartphone Market With 39% Share, Xiaomi Slips To 5th Spot

Xiaomi with 8.1 million shipments, got 9.5 per cent slice of the pie

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Meanwhile, in a breather to the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant Huawei, the Pentagon has blocked the Commerce Department-backed ban on sales that make it harder for US-based companies to sell equipment to the handset maker. Wikimedia Commons

Telecom and smartphone giant Huawei extended its dominance in the China market in the fourth quarter of 2019 with a massive 39 per cent market share and 33.3 million unit shipments while Xiaomi slipped to fifth spot with a mere 8.1 million shipments and 9.5 per cent slice of the pie, Singapore-based market research firm Canalys has revealed.

For the calendar year 2019, Huawei had an impressive 142 million shipments in the domestic market — a 35 per cent growth over 2018.

Oppo with 65.7 million and Vivo with 62.7 million were the other two shipment leaders for the full year 2019. Xiaomi with 38.8 million and Apple with its 27.5 million completed the top-five list for 2019.

In the fourth quarter (October-December period), Oppo retained the second spot with 14 million units shipped and a 16.4 per cent market share.

Vivo grabbed the third spot with 13.1 million shipments and 15.4 per cent market share, followed by Apple at the fourth place with 10.1 million sales and 11.8 per cent market share.

Xiaomi with 8.1 million shipments, got 9.5 per cent slice of the pie. Notably, all these major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) had significant declines compared to the Q4 2018 values. Total smartphone sales for 2019 came out to 369 million units which is a 7 per cent down on a yearly basis.

Huawei
Telecom and smartphone giant Huawei extended its dominance in the China market in the fourth quarter of 2019 with a massive 39 per cent market share and 33.3 million unit shipments while Xiaomi slipped to fifth spot with a mere 8.1 million shipments and 9.5 per cent slice of the pie, Singapore-based market research firm Canalys has revealed. Pixabay

Meanwhile, in a breather to the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant Huawei, the Pentagon has blocked the Commerce Department-backed ban on sales that make it harder for US-based companies to sell equipment to the handset maker, the media has reported.

The US Department of Commerce had put Huawei on the “entity list” in May 2019, thus, preventing US firms from conducting business with the company unless they obtain a specific license, citing national security concerns with the Chinese telecommunications giant.

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The UK has also decided to let China’s Huawei continue to be used in its 5G networks but with restrictions, including banning its equipment in the network’s “sensitive parts”, like the core, and capping the presence of its kit in the network’s periphery to 35 per cent. (IANS)