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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.

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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China Hopes to Welcome US “Back to The Negotiating Table” to Discuss Global Efforts to Limit Climate Change

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago

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FILE - China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua. VOA

China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile in December, its top climate change envoy said on Tuesday.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago that China would provide “full support to the Chilean presidency of this meeting.”

The summit was “strong proof that a multilateral negotiation process is successful, that multilateralism is working,” he said.

Asked if the U.S. approach to the threat of climate change under President Donald Trump and the U.S.-China trade dispute might affect the outcome in Santiago, Xie replied: “China and the U.S. has many differences but we do have some common grounds on climate change issues as well and we welcome them back to the negotiating table on climate change, we are very open to that.”

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China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile. VOA

Trump has signaled his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord and been dismissive of regulations aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. He has also expressed his preference for bilateral trade pacts over multilateral agreements.

In July, China pledged on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka to show “the highest possible ambition” in the fight against climate change. Experts and policy advisors say the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter could introduce new and more stringent carbon targets next year.

Xie said China would back a bid by the U.N. secretary-general and climate change envoy to persuade all countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goals to keep global warming to well below two degrees centigrade.

“The most important objective is to identify the new NDCs for the post-2020 period and link those new NDCs together with the financial support from the developed countries as promised,” Xie said. “To have that financial support in place is very important and that’s the objective we would like to achieve.”

Also Read- Students of IIT Delhi Launch Reusable Sanitary Pads

China is a key investor in Chilean renewable energy projects and manufactured half of the solar panels at the 110MW Parque Quilapilún solar plant Xie visited with environment minister Carolina Schmidt.

Schmidt will serve as president of the COP25 U.N. climate change summit in December. (VOA)