UN sanctions to halve N. Korean exports
The latest wave of U.N. sanctions on North Korea following its banned weapons tests may nearly halve the impoverished state's mineral exports, clouding its economy heavily dependent on China, a report showed Tuesday.
The U.N. Security Council imposed a raft of tougher sanctions on Pyongyang earlier this month to punish it for the Jan. 6 nuclear test and Feb. 7 launch of a long-range rocket, both of which violated previous U.N. resolutions. The sanctions, agreed upon by Washington and Beijing, include bans on North Korea's exports of mineral resources like coal, iron and rare earth minerals, as well as imports of aviation and rocket fuel supplies to the reclusive country.
Out of North Korea's exports estimated at $3.34 billion in 2014, outbound shipments of the banned materials account for 44.9 percent, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said. The figures for 2015 were not available. Revenue from the coal trade was estimated at $1.14 million in 2014, or 34.2 percent, followed by iron ore and steel with 6.6 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. The rest of the banned materials such as gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth minerals also showed thin trading.
All of the country's coal and iron ore was shipped to China from 2010 to 2014, which accounted for 97 percent of trade of banned materials, the association said. The North imported $13.9 million of jet fuel from Beijing in 2014. If China stops oil supply to the North, it could effectively limit its air force's exercises, it said. "The U.N. sanctions deprive North Korea of $1.5 billion in revenue sources, which could seriously hamper its economy and industry if the measures are prolonged," the KITA said in the report. "North Korea is expected to expand exports of non- sanction items such as clothes, but unstable power supply and the ban on cargo and finances will make it hard to ship them overseas." For sanction to become effective, the KITA stressed Beijing's role in abiding by the rules along with the international community. China, North Korea's economic lifeline, has vowed to fully implement the new U.N. sanctions on its recalcitrant neighbor.