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China Has Finally Stepped Up To Enforce Sanctions On North Korea; Will This Lead To Denuclearization Of The Korean Peninsula?

ArmchairTechInvestor, March 11, 2018, by Brad Peery

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*It appears that China is enforcing the most recent U.N. sanctions. A telling consequence may be that border traffic and business activity along the China-North Korea border has changed dramatically. The lines of people going into North Korea have dropped significantly.

According to businessmen crossing the border:
• New U.N. sanctions on garments caused a dozen or more garment factories to close in North Korea;
• Battery prices have increased by at least 50% from a year earlier;
• Seafood for export from North Korea, has fallen by more than 50%, and is a glut on the market;

Somewhat offsetting these developments are smuggling crossborder and ship-to-ship cargo transfers;

Although the numbers may be somewhat unreliable, it is believed that 90% of North Korean trade is with China. Oil exports by China appear to have dropped to zero, although there may still be crude exports.
One international initiative is to get foreign countries to stop using North Korean workers, who are virtual slaves, and provide currency. Many of them appear to be heading back to North Korea, although this probably does not include Russia, which uses many such workers.

In March, 2018, a North Korean cybertheft may have occurred in Turkey, such activities undoubtedly continue. There are also continuing arms sale revenues that continue to be received through sales to the Middle East and Africa.

According to the Chinese government, exports to North Korea were down by one-third in 2017, and down by 82% in December, 2017.

The U.S. continues to put pressure on North Korea, with substantial new sanctions on shipping and trading companies. It has also been reported that the U.S. is interdicting vessels at sea that are involved in trade with North Korea.
*North Korea Feels Sting of Sanctions, Wall Street Journal, by Jeremy Page, Andrew Jeong and Ian Talley, March 2, 2018

ArmchairTechInvesor Opinion
It is estimated that North Korea went through about half of its foreign currency reserves of $3 billion in 2017. The noose is tightening on North Korea. A breakthrough may have come when President Trump agreed to meet with Kim Joug Un in May, 2018. A precondition by Trump has always been that North Korea be willing to denuclearized the Korean Peninsula. There have been many times when North Korea violated agreements they had made, leading to skepticism about their current Intentions. The U.S. needs to hold these talks, keep increasing sanctions, and propose an agreement that will have a verifiable way of guaranteeing that North Korea abandons its nuclear and missile development activities. Also, one must remember the ruthless power Kim Jong Un has used to consolidate power, including the killing of relatives such as his half-brother and uncle.

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